Thursday, September 19, 2013

Palestinian Fisherman Injured and His Finger Amputated as Israeli Naval Troops Fire at Fishing Boat in Gaza Sea


Thursday, 19 September 2013 00:00

Ref: 94/2013

On Wednesday, 18 September 2013, a Palestinian fisherman was injured and consequently one of his fingers was amputated when Israeli naval troops opened fire at Palestinian fishing boat on board of which 5 fishermen were sailing nearly 6 nautical miles off Gaza Harbor.  The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) condemns the continuation of Israeli forces’ attacks against Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip and expresses deep concern over violations of fishermen’s right to work freely in Gaza sea. 
According to investigation conducted by PCHR, at approximately 14:30 on Wednesday, 18 September 2013, a Palestinian fishing boat sailed from Gaza Harbor.  Five fishermen were on board the boat.  At approximately 16:30, the boat arrived at a point in the sea nearly 6 nautical miles of the shore.  One of the fishermen, Ayman Ahmed Tulba, stated to a PCHR field worker that he and the other four fishermen threw their fishing nets into the water.  Soon, they were surprised by an Israeli gunboat coming towards them.  Israeli soldier opened fire at the fishing boat without any warning.  Tulba added that the fishermen were extremely terrified and attempted to escape.  The fishermen moved to the back of the boat.  In the meantime, a bullet hit a lever that is used to pull fishing equipment, so its belt fell onto one of the fishermen, Saleem Khalil al-Fassih, 56, injuring him in the fingers of his right hand.  Al-Fassih stated to PCHR that the Israeli naval troop continued to fire at the boat although it moved back up 4 nautical miles off the shore.  The fishermen then called the Palestinian naval forces, and al-Fassih was evacuated to Shifa Hospital in Gaza, where doctors were forced to amputate one of his fingers.  Al Fassih is still in need for a surgery.   

PCHR condemns the continuous Israeli attacks against Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip, and:      

1. Calls for Palestinian fishermen to be allowed to sail and fish freely and an immediate end to the Israeli policy of chase and arrest while at sea;
2. Demands compensation for the fishermen for the physical and material damage caused to them and their property as a result of these violations;
3. Calls upon the international community, including the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of war, to intervene immediately to stop the Israeli violations against the Palestinian fishermen, and to allow them to sail and fish freely in the Gaza sea.

Press Release: UFree Network denounces the Egyptian military courts sentences against Palestinian fishermen

Oslo | UFree Network Media Centre 

UFree Network strongly condemns the Egyptian military court sentences against Palestinian fishermen who were given a one-year prison sentence and a penalty fine for fishing in Egyptian waters near the Gaza Strip.

The five Palestinian fishermen were arrested by the Egyptian sea border 
police on 30th of August claiming they broke through the sea borders with Egypt. 

UFree Chairman, Mohammad Hamdan, considered the Egyptian military sentences as a serious precedent action against Palestinian civilians which reminded us of the brutal Israeli practices especially that the courts were held in illegal and mysterious conditions.

The Oslo based Network called for the immediate release of the five fishermen and all Palestinian detainees in Egyptian jails who were arrested without legal justification. UFree Network also called on Egyptian authorities to stop targeting Palestinians in Egypt and to put an end to the escalated incitement against them.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Israeli gunboats open fire at Palestinian fishing boats

[ 15/09/2013 - 10:08 AM ]

GAZA, (PIC)-- Israeli gunboats opened heavy machinegun fire at Palestinian fishing boats off the coast of Gaza city and Sudaniya area, north of Gaza Strip, on Sunday morning.
A PIC reporter said that no casualties or damages were reported in the heavy shooting that targeted fishermen and their boats.
Israeli navy boats routinely fire at Palestinian fishing boats off the coasts of the besieged enclave, detain fishermen and confiscate their fishing tools and boats.
Fishermen try to work within the six nautical miles radius specified to them by the Israeli navy but are almost always targeted by the navy gunboats.

Hamas: Egypt arrests 2 Gaza fishermen


GAZA CITY (AFP) -- Egyptian naval forces opened fire at Palestinian fishermen off the Gaza Strip's southern coast and arrested two of them, the Hamas movement said.

Hamas "condemns the fire from Egyptian gunboats toward Palestinians within Palestinian waters, and the arrest of some of them," spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said in a statement.

A local security source said Egyptian navy forces opened fire at two fishermen in waters off the southern Gaza city Rafah and arrested them, noting there were no injuries in the incident.

On Sunday, Israeli gunboats opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats off Gaza's coast, witnesses said. Fishermen were forced to return to the shore following the incident, with no injuries reported.

This was the second time in recent weeks that Egyptian forces have opened fire at Gaza fishermen and made arrests. On August 30 two Palestinian fishermen were wounded and five others arrested by Egyptian navy forces, according to Hamas, which has ruled Gaza since 2007.

Saturday's incident took place amid growing tensions between Hamas and Egypt.

On August 31, Egypt's foreign ministry accused Hamas of raiding an Egyptian cultural center in Gaza and detaining several Egyptians.

And on Thursday, two Egyptian army tanks crossed an initial border fence leading to Gaza for the first time.

Relations between Egypt and the Islamist movement have sharply deteriorated since the military-led ouster on July 3 of president Mohamed Morsi.

The deposed Islamist leader is now in detention, accused of colluding with Hamas in staging prison breaks and killing policemen during the 2011 uprising that overthrew former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak.

Egypt's army has since the July coup destroyed many of the tunnels Brotherhood ally Hamas uses to bring supplies into the semi-blockaded Strip.

Egypt closed its Rafah border crossing with Gaza on August 19 after a deadly attack nearby that killed 24 policeman, and now opens the crossing for a few hours a day for "humanitarian" purposes only.

Gaza fishers and farmers: nowhere to go

13th September 2013 | International Solidarity Movement, Kevin Neish | Gaza, Occupied Palestine

We had a meeting with some leaders in the Gaza commercial fishing industry, to hear their stories and see if or how we can assist them.

Fishermen in Gaza City (Photo by Kevin Neish)
Fishermen in Gaza City (Photo by Kevin Neish)

Gaza Strip fishers have historically been some of the poorest families here, especially as many are not refugees, and so do not receive UN assistance.  Their lot has been made that much worse with the attacks and restrictions imposed on them by the Israeli forces.  Since the July Egyptian coup, the Israelis have ignored the Nov 2012 ceasefire that was brokered by the previous Morsi Egyptian government.  There’s been a sad litany of recent violations against Palestinian fishers:
  • the arbitrary reduction of the fishing area from six nautical miles to five.
  • the Israelis are now holding weekly military exercises within Palestinian waters.  Yesterday morning activists watched as an Israeli gunboat cruised along, only 500 meters off the coast of Gaza City.
  • the Israeli navy usually just shot at ships’ hulls, but are now shooting at the fishermen themselves.
  • Gaza fishers are being shot at three miles, two miles and even just one mile from shore.  Two fishers from Shadi Camp were recently shot by Israeli forces while well inside the new five-mile limit.
  • a safety related, permanently anchored, Palestinian light ship, marking their safe fishing limit, was just stolen by Israeli forces.
Even with all these provocations, the Gaza government is still striving to keep the ceasefire alive, going as far as to pass their own law, to arrest any fisher crossing the six-mile ceasefire limit.  And we activists have not been encouraged to accompany the fishers, in case our presence may encourage fishers to “push the envelope” and challenge the Israelis.
The trickle down effects of all this on fishing families eventually hits the youth the hardest, with no funds for education, clothing, proper nutrition and ultimately no next generation at all, as there is no work, accommodations or finances for young fishermen’s families to get started.

And the farmer’s lot is no better, as we found out at a recent meeting in Khan Younis, with farmers who own land close to the Israeli “buffer zone.”

Farmers in Khuza'a (Photo by Kevin Neish)
Farmers in Khan Younis (Photo by Kevin Neish)

Even though it is time to plant, these farmers are not even attempting to approach their fields due to Israeli sniper fire.  The November cease fire, supposedly guaranteed that farmers could work their land, up to 100 meters from the border, but the Israelis only honored that for three months, and now shoot at farmers 800 meters from the border.  And even if they do manage to get plants in the ground, they cannot tend and water them due to the danger. Even if they could do this, the Israeli bulldozers and tanks are flagrantly crossing into the “buffer zone” and destroying their hard work in minutes. So now their plan is to wait until the fall rains come, so the crops will not need as much dangerous personal attention from the farmers, and ISM will be there, to at the very least, document any ceasefire violations.  But, at a minimum, three crucial months of farming some of the most productive land in Gaza, are being lost, in a country desperate for food.  And with the tunnels to Egypt now cut off, the Palestinians are left to buy overpriced, second-rate produce and junk food from Israel.
As well, they now have to buy Israeli fuel at double the cost of Egyptian tunnel fuel, so everything from taxi rides to the farms to bread for their families has gone up.  And Gaza is going from having power cuts of eight to twelve hours a day to only having power for 4 hours a day.  Besides the personal impossibilities of managing a household of refrigerators, freezers, well water pumps, washing machines, computers and such, on just four hours of electricity, think of the hospitals. The famous recent instance, of a Gaza doctor during a power outage completing an operation using the light of his cell phone, may soon not be so unusual.
It would seem the Israeli military is trying to goad Gaza into striking out at them, and then the “retaliatory” Israeli attacks would begin.  And then this one-way ceasefire would truly end, with rockets and missiles flying in both directions, and the Western media will suddenly, but belatedly, take notice of Gaza.  There is a desire for peace over here, if someone from the “outside” would just offer some support.
Updated on September 13, 2013

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Abu Zuhri condemns Egyptian navy for shooting Palestinian fishermen

[ 31/08/2013 - 08:41 AM ]

GAZA, (PIC)-- Dr. Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas spokesman, has condemned the Egyptian navy for shooting at a group of Palestinian fishermen.
Abu Zuhri said in a press release on Friday that the act was “unjustified”, and called on the Egyptian authorities to release those arrested during the attack.
The Egyptian navy had arrested five fishermen, who were working near the Egyptian marine borders, and injured two others after shooting at them.

Egypt fires at Palestinian fishermen off Gaza: medics

Egyptian naval police shot and wounded two Palestinian fishermen and detained five off the Gaza Strip on Friday, medics said, an incident that hinted at increased tension between Gaza's Islamist Hamas rulers and Cairo.
Fishermen from Gaza have often brought in catch from Egyptian territory to sidestep restrictions imposed by Israel's naval blockade of the enclave. But Egypt has grown less tolerant of this practice since Islamist President Mohamed Morsy was toppled by the military almost two months ago.
The group of seven Palestinian fishermen were sailing west of the southern Gaza border town of Rafah towards Egyptian waters when the forces opened fire at them, Gaza hospital officials said. Egyptian authorities had no immediate comment.
The wounded pair avoided arrest and were only lightly hurt, hospital officials in Gaza said.
Relations between Hamas and Egypt have deteriorated markedly since Morsy was removed by the Egyptian military on 3 July after weeks of mass unrest against his Islamist rule. Hamas is an offshoot of Morsy's Muslim Brotherhood
Egyptian officials have accused Hamas of aiding Islamist militants in Egypt's widely lawless Sinai peninsula bordering Gaza. Hamas denies this.
Citing security concerns, Israel, Hamas's arch-adversary, maintains a naval blockade of the enclave and imposes a limit of six nautical miles on the distance that fishermen can sail out to sea.
Israeli forces have regularly shot at Gaza boats seen as trying to breach the blockade, but there was no previous record of the Egyptians opening fire.
Gaza fishermen say that the limited fishing zone imposed by Israel is not big enough to meet the demands in the enclave and have often brought fish back from Egypt, either by boat or through smuggling tunnels.
Since Morsy's ousting, Egyptian authorities have warned Gaza fishermen against entering Egyptian territorial waters.
It could not be confirmed whether the fishermen shot at on Friday were attempting to cross into Egyptian waters.


Egyptian forces shoot at Palestinian fishermen
Published Friday 30/08/2013 (updated) 01/09/2013 17:06
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Egyptian naval forces on Friday shot two Palestinian fishermen near the Egypt-Gaza border and detained five others, Palestinian sources in Gaza said.

Egyptian forces opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats, injuring 19-year-old Ibrahim Abdullah al-Najjar and 21-year-old Wael al-Bardawil. They were taken to the Abu Yousef al-Najjar Hospital in the Palestinian side of Rafah.

Egyptian forces detained Khalid Basla, Mahmud Basla, Maher Basla, Jamal Khaled Abu Shlouf, and Ismael Basla.

The fishermen are from the the al-Mawasi area of Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip.