Sunday, June 30, 2013

IOF Attack Fishermen North of Gaza

Al Mezan


On Saturday, June 29th 2013, at approximately 10:40 pm, Israeli naval vessels sporadically opened fire towards Palestinians fishing boats, northwest of Al Waha resort, northwest Beit Lahyia. The Israeli forces used flares to keep fishermen for about two nautical miles away from the northern maritime borders; no causalities or injuries were reported.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Southern Gaza comes under sea, land gunfire

[ 19/06/2013 - 09:25 AM ]

KHAN YOUNIS, (PIC)-- Israeli occupation forces (IOF) fired from land and sea positions at the southern Gaza Strip district of Khan Younis late on Tuesday night.
Local sources told the PIC reporter that IOF soldiers in Kissufim outpost fired at fields and residential quarters on the eastern flank of the Khan Younis district before midnight Tuesday.
The sources said that no casualties were suffered in the shooting that targeted Qarara and Deir Al-Balah.
At the same time, Israeli gunboats fired at the western coast of Khan Younis with no human or material losses reported.

Israeli gunboats fire at Palestinian fishing boats

[ 19/06/2013 - 09:23 AM ]

GAZA, (PIC)-- Israeli navy gunboats opened heavy machinegun fire at Palestinian fishing boats off the coast of Deir Al-Balah in central Gaza Strip on Tuesday night.
Nizar Ayyash, the head of the syndicate of fishermen, told the PIC reporter that the navy’s shooting has turned into a daily practice targeting fishing boats approaching the six nautical miles limit.
He charged that despite the allowed area, yet the Israeli navy fires at any fishing boat approaching five and a half nautical miles and chases away fishermen.
Ayyash pointed out that Israel re-allowed fishing at that area after end of the fishing season starting early April to the end of May.
Fishermen have thus lost their busy working season and returned to fishing small quantities, he concluded.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Two fishermen arrested by Israeli navy and their boat confiscated

17th June 2013 | International Solidarity Movement, Rosa Schiano | Gaza, Occupied Palestine

During the night of Friday, June 7, 2013 there was an escalation of attacks by the Israeli navy against the fishermen of Gaza. The Committee of the fishermen of the Union of Agricultural Workers Committees had reported attacks along the coast of Gaza and the arrest of two fishermen, in addition to the destruction of fishing nets.

The two fishermen arrested, Khader Marwan Al-Saidi, 24, and Hassan Ali Murad, 27 years old (Photo: Rosa Schiano)
The two fishermen arrested, Khader Marwan Al-Saidi, 24, and Hassan Ali Murad, 27 years old (Photo: Rosa Schiano)

The two fishermen arrested, Khader Marwan Al-Saidi, 24, and Hassan Ali Murad, 27, were arrested around 3:00 am on Friday and were released the next day, but their boat was confiscated.
The two fishermen live in the Shati refugee camp.
Thursday afternoon, they had gone out into the sea around 15:00 and they were headed south, stopping to fish south of the coast of Shalihat.

The attack

Hassan Ali Murad told us that an Israeli military navy ship began to attack by shooting at the boat at 2:00 in the morning.
“With us there were another 6-7 Hasakas, we were fishing in a group. When the soldiers started shooting all the fishermen escaped, but the engine of our boat was dead and we were not able to escape. We tried to turn on the generator but we did not succeed. ” The fishermen were about 6 miles from the coast. We shouted to the soldiers, “Go away, we’re less than 6 miles!”, But the soldiers continued to shoot”, added Hassan.

The arrest and interrogation

A zodiac boat with a crew of 6 Israeli soldiers approached them. The soldiers ordered the two fishermen to undress, dive into the water and swim to the Israeli navy boat. “The soldiers shot at us while we were swimming”, said Hassan. On board the boat the two fishermen were blindfolded and handcuffed. The soldiers then confiscated the boat of fishermen and all the equipment. Hassan explained that the generator cost about $6,000, the boat cost about $3,000, the equipment about $ 1,000. For a total of $10,000, that fishermen will still continue to pay because they are already indebted to deal with these expenses.
“We were held for about 30 minutes on the Israeli gunship, in the cold, while the soldiers carried on driving the navy boat away. We were lying on the ground and they hit us with their feet behind our heads, then we were hooded. I could not breathe, after half an hour I was dying for the lack of air “, said Hassan. The fishermen were transported to the port of Ashdod in Israel, given a shirt and a pair of trousers and remained handcuffed and blindfolded until 12.00 the next day. Hassan also told us that the soldiers laughed at them and beat them. A doctor then visited them, and informed Hassan he was suffering from various health problems. Hassan replied to him: “What do you want from us? You have taken our boat, you have taken our lives, and now you want to check my health?” The doctor replied that it was his responsibility to check his health. Hassan told him: “I’m not angry about my health, I am angry because I cannot feed my children.” The two fishermen were detained in a room for four hours before being interrogated. An officer asked Hassan if he knew members of Hamas, if they were involved in armed groups and other questions of this kind. Hassan replied to him: “You’re destroying my life and you’re giving me these questions?”. The officer said: “Our concern is to destroy the lives of fishermen,” meaning that this was their mission.
Two years ago, Hassan had already been arrested by the Israeli navy along with his cousin, who had been wounded by a bullet in the leg. “Who will feed our children now? We do not have any other means. Who will pay our debts?” Hassan added.
While listening to the testimony of Hassan, another member of the family intervened, saying: “Every fisherman would rather die and be shot in the head rather than lose their own boat. The boat is our source of life.”
Hassan added that during the interrogation in Ashdod, the officer said, “You can ask a lawyer to get back the boat but its doubtful we’ll return the generator.”
Hassan replied to him: “The lawyer needs a big fee, and I have no means to pay it.” The officer replied: “It’s not my business, it’s the lawyer’s business.”
Back in Gaza, Hassan asked for help from a lawyer but he was told that the procedure would cost a sum of money equivalent to the purchase of a new boat.
Khader Marwan Al-Saidi then intervened, saying that the officer told him, “I must watch over you at sea night and day, and this bothers me. For this reason we destroy the boats.” Khader added that Israeli officials know all about their lives. Khader has recently become a father. The officer told him during questioning: “How’s your boy?”
The official also told him, “You are bringing with you internationals for protection. If international go with you the next time we will strike your boat. We are not afraid of you and we are not afraid of the internationals. Did not think that international accompaniment can protect you. Can we shoot when we want, no one can stop us. “
In addition to the drama represented by the loss of the boat and all their means of subsistence, fishermen also continuously undergo psychological violence. Hassan showed us the pants that the Israeli army had given them. The soldiers said they have the same value of the boat and generator.

Towards Erez, the Release

After the interrogation, which lasted about 30 minutes, the two fishermen were detained two hours before being taken to Erez. The soldiers also shackled the legs of the fishermen and forced them to bend over to pick up a box which contained their work clothes. Then they were forced to walk for 500 meters with hands and feet tied up to a military jeep that brought them to Erez. In Erez two fishermen have were forced to walk another 500 meters.
The Erez crossing was closed. A soldier wanted to bring the fishermen back to Ashdod, while another soldier insisted on allowing them to cross the border. Hassan said that fortunately an elderly Palestinian woman who was returning from an Israeli hospital had reached the border. The woman asked the soldiers to open the pass to go home. After about 10 minutes the soldiers opened the pass. The two fishermen then walked for about 2 miles to get to the Palestinian office, where they were interrogated by the internal security. After interrogation, the two, exhausted and no car, were sitting in the street. The old woman who had passed through the crossing offered them a ride in the car. “You cannot imagine what happened. Even if you saw it on television you would not believe it,” said Khader.
Economic Difficulties
Hassan is married and has four children. In his small home, the bathroom and the kitchen in one room, live 6 people. Hassan has been fishing since he was 10 years old. His father was ill and could not work, so after school Hassan assisted the family fishing.
Khader Marwan Al-Saidi is married and has a child. 14 people live in their house, while the whole family has 70 people in all.
Approximately 24 people depended on the boat that has been confiscated, of which the father is the owner.

The continued attacks against the fishermen and the appeal to the international community

As we listened to the testimony of the two fishermen, we learned that the Israeli Navy was attacking fishing boats off the coast of Soudania in the North of the Gaza Strip. Zakaria Baker, head of the Committee of the fishermen of the Union of Agricultural Work Committees told us that Israeli forces were opening fire on Palestinian fishermen and one of the boats had been surrounded about 2 miles from the coast. Zakaria, who was on the phone directly with those under attack, could not hear them well enough because of the gunfire.
We continued to listen to the terrible testimony of the two fishermen while the tension continued to rise in the atmosphere because of what was happening at the same time.
Hassan sent a message to the international community: “We ask the international community to support the Palestinian fishermen. Israeli authorities have communicated through the media that they will now allow Palestinian fishermen to reach 6 nautical miles from the coast, but in reality are attacking fishermen within this limit, 4-5 miles from the coast. We call on the international community to help and for once hold Israel to account. The people who are most affected are the fishermen in Gaza. Already the situation in Gaza is difficult, we are under siege, we are fishermen attacked every day and while I’m talking to you now the soldiers are attacking other fishermen. Ask the international community to stand by our side. “
The fishermen think that the NGOs could help in covering the costs of the boat confiscated.


Israel has progressively imposed restrictions on Palestinian fishermen’s access to the sea. The 20 nautical miles established under the agreements of Jericho in 1994 between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), have been reduced to 12 miles below the Bertini Agreement in 2002. In 2006, the area consented to the fishing has been reduced to 6 nautical miles from the coast. Following the Israeli military offensive “Cast Lead” (2008-2009) Israel has imposed a limit of 3 nautical miles from the coast, preventing the Palestinians from access to 85% of the water to which they are entitled according to the Jericho agreements of 1994.
Under the agreements reached between Israel and the Palestinian resistance after the Israeli military offensive in November 2012, “Pillar of Defense,” they consented that Gazan fishermen can again fish to 6 nautical miles from the coast. Despite these agreements, the Israeli navy has not stopped attacks on Gaza fishermen, even within this limit. In March 2013, Israel imposed once again a limit of 3 nautical miles from the coast, saying that the decision had been taken following the sending of some Palestinian rockets towards Israel. On Wednesday 22nd May, the Israeli military authorities announced through some media outlets the decision to extend the limit again to 6 nautical miles from the coast.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

IOF Gunboats Open Fire at Fishermen West of Gaza

Al Mezan


At approximately 8:00 pm, on Saturday 8th June 2013, Israeli gunboats sporadically opened fire at a distance of six nautical miles towards Palestinian fishing boats, west of Al shata’ Camp, west of Gaza. No causalities or injuries were reported.

Israeli Gunboats Open Fire at Fishermen North of Gaza

Al Mezan


At approximately 9:00 pm, on Saturday 8th June 2013, Israeli naval vessels opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats, northwest of Al Waha resort, northwest of Beit Lahyia. A fishing boat that belongs to Taha Mohammed Saed Sa’dallah, 30, was hit with several bullets and seven of his fishing nets were damaged. Ten nets belonging to Mustafa Ahmed Abed Allah Al Sultan, 62, were also damaged. According to Al Mezan documentation, the Israeli vessels directly targeted the fishing boats. No causalities were reported.

Gaza Strip: Attacks in the border areas and their consequences


Following disengagement from the Gaza Strip in September 2005, Israel unilaterally and illegally established a so-called “buffer zone”, an area prohibited to Palestinians along the land and sea borders of the Gaza Strip. The precise area designated by Israel as a “buffer zone” is not clear and this Israeli policy is typically enforced with live fire. The establishment of the ‘buffer zone’ is illegal under both Israeli and international law.
To download the full Fact Sheet Click Here..

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Israeli Gunboats Open Fire at Fishermen West of Beit Lahyia

Al Mezan


At approximately 9:00 pm on Thursday June 6th 2013, Israeli naval vessels opened fire towards Palestinian fishing boats, Northwest of Al Waha Resort, northwest of Beit Lahyia. The Israeli gunboats also released flares in the area. No causalities or injuries were reported.

‘This time we were not forced to swim naked in the sea’: Gaza fishermen left jobless after illegal arrest in Palestinian waters

1st June 2013 | Mondoweiss, Petra Stastna | Gaza, Occupied Palestine

A young Palestinian fisherman was arrested together with his brother within Palestinian waters on 19 May 2013 by the Israeli navy and released the following day. Their boat and all equipment were confiscated by the Israelis, leaving them with no means to make a living. This is another serious blow to the livelihoods of individual Palestinians whose lives depend on fishing, not to mention the whole population, which has been for years subject to siege as collective punishment, illegal under international law.
The interview was facilitated by and took place in the office of the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC) in Gaza City. Sa’d Zaida, Senior Manager at UAWC, translated from Arabic to English. Editing and titles by the author.

Israeli military harassing Palestinian fishermen (Photo by Rosa Schiano/Civil Peace Service Gaza)

Israeli military harassing Palestinian fishermen (Photo by Rosa Schiano/Civil Peace Service Gaza)

My name is Mahmoud Zayed. I am 25 years old. I am a fishermen and live with my family in Beit Lahiya, in the north of the Gaza Strip. Last Sunday, 19 May 2013, my brother Khaled (24) and I went fishing at about 5:30 pm. We have a row boat, a hasaka, which accommodates two people. We stayed in the Beit Lahiya area near the beach. At around 9:00 pm we were sailing about 1.4 km (0.8 nautical miles) from the beach. A number of other boats were near us. Suddenly, two Israeli ninja boats (zodiac) approached us and started to shoot at us.


There were perhaps five soldiers on each boat. We tried to escape the attack but it increased. We shouted at the soldiers: “We want to go home. We want to go to the Gaza beach.” Yet the army circled our boat, creating huge waves. Water was in our faces and everywhere. One of the waves sent us into the sea. But we got aboard again. Khaled fell on the floor. He was exhausted and feeling sick. But still we tried to defend our boat by sticking out our oars to prevent the navy boat from getting close. One of the Israeli boats tried to catch our boat by throwing a rope over a pole. Twice they succeeded, but we immediately removed the rope. [Mahmoud and all other fishermen sitting in the same room smile.]

New colors of detainee clothes

In the end the army caught our boat. According to Israeli regulations, we were allowed to go fishing up to six km (three nm). The Israeli navy attacked us at 1.4 km (0.8 nm), but by the time they caught us we were at one km (0.5 nm). The attack lasted for more than an hour. When they caught our boat, they did not ask us to take off our clothes and swim towards them, as is the usual procedure. This time we were arrested directly on the boat, so we did not have to swim without clothes. Two soldiers took me and carried me to the small navy boat. My brother Khaled was exhausted and sick. Two other soldiers carried him. On the small boat they told us to take off our clothes. They gave us yellow t-shirt and blue trousers …This must be a new fashion, because the navy used to give the arrested fishermen green uniforms, then black ones, so now it’s yellow and blue. They are following fashion, that’s why they change the uniforms for us. [The fishermen laugh.]

Handcuffed all night in Ashdod

The soldiers covered my eyes, handcuffed me and carried me and my brother to the big navy boat. There they asked our names, ID number and boat number. We said we did not know the numbers by heart. After one hour we arrived at Ashdod sea port. The Israelis brought a doctor who inspected Khaled and gave him an injection. They asked our names and ID. They took photos of us and noted our phone numbers. Then they put us into a room, still blindfolded and handcuffed. I asked that they take away the handcuffs, but we spent the night handcuffed tightly. In the morning, the Israeli internal security interrogated me, showed me a map and asked about places I know on the shore. They asked about Sudania (the point where the fishermen entered the sea directly) and about a water pump in Sudania. They showed me the police station.

Everything confiscated, even 100 NIS from my pocket

After the investigation I asked about my boat and confiscated nets, but they said I must talk to a Palestinian lawyer. (But they know very well that fishermen do not have money to pay a lawyer or court costs.) They took me blindfolded and handcuffed back to the room. The investigation took place at around 8.30 am and lasted for 30 or 45 minutes. It was conducted in Hebrew with translation into Arabic. The translator did not speak with a Palestinian accent. They investigated only me, not Khaled. Fifteen minutes later they tied our legs with iron cuffs. Then they put us into a police car and took us to Erez. This was around 11:00 am on Monday morning, May 20. We were without our boat, nets and all equipment. What’s more, I had 100 NIS in my pocket. I got it for the fish I had caught the other day. They took it, too. We weren’t allowed to talk to our family until we got back home, not during the arrest.

They know every detail about us, but still they arrest us and intimidate us

What is strange about this is that, during the interrogation, they asked me: “Your brother was on another boat, why was he in the hasaka?” It’s true that Khaled usually goes fishing with another boat. But after he finished his work he came to help me. This shows that they have been observing us very closely, they know everything about us. How they follow this, how they trace this, we don’t know. But this is what happened… Why did they arrest us and confiscate everything? I think because my brother joined me on the boat.


Our family depends on fishing. We are six brothers and a sister, altogether 13 members in the family. I have a son. Khaled also has a son. In the family we had one hasaka, which is now confiscated. Our father and another brother also have a boat, but it’s for their use. My hasaka was the only means of making a living for me. I will be unemployed until I can get a new boat. I cannot borrow someone else’s boat. What would happen if soldiers confiscated it again? The hasaka I had cost 3,300 NIS ($900). The nets and equipment cost even more. On Saturday, I bought nets for 2,000 NIS. They were brand new and I lost them just one day after buying them.

Six miles as a drop in the ocean

How do we feel about the extension of the fishing range from three to six nm? It helps a little bit. However, if we look at the economic side of it, there is no change at all. It is okay for sardines, which are seasonal, but it is almost the end of the sardine season now. For other fish it does not change anything. “Natural fishing” starts only after eight nm, where there is what we call a “line of rocks”. Anything less offers only a seasonal benefit. What’s more, it is forbidden to fish at six nm, as this is where the fish eggs are. …At three to six nm there is only “ramel”, ground, soil. There are sardines at six nm. If you are lucky, you will also get some other fish. It gets better after six miles, but the good area starts at eight miles. …The dangerous thing after the November 2012 ceasefire is that by allowing us to fish up to six nm, this might be designed as the maximum we will ever be allowed to go to. It’s a kind of collective punishment. Israel needs neither arguments nor rockets. They punish us without these things.

A message to the world

We want our boat and nets back. We want Israelis to leave us alone, to live peacefully and give us the right to fish anywhere.

Background info

The attack by the Israeli navy on Palestinian fishermen happened within the three nm limit (precisely at 0.8 nm), which the Israeli side would justify as a “military necessity”. Under the “military necessity” would also fall the confiscation of a boat and nets. The Oslo Agreement of 1994 designated Palestinian waters as 20 nm. This number has been shrinking ever since: In 2002 it was officially lowered to 12 nm in the Bertini Agreement. Following the disengagement, Israel reduced the fishing area even more, and since the capture of the soldier Gilad Shalit, on June 25, 2006, fishermen have not been allowed further than three nautical miles from shore. Thus Palestinians have been denied access to 85% of their sea, to which they are legally entitled, according to the Oslo Agreement. Following the ceasefire in November 2012 after the Pillar of Defense attack, the limit moved up to six nm again. Despite these agreements, the Israeli navy continued attacking fishermen within this limit. In March 2013 the three nm limit was again imposed, after some rockets were fired from Gaza towards the south of Israel. On Tuesday, May 21, Israel extended the fishing range back to six nm, as a gesture of “goodwill” during US Secretary of State John Kerry’s visit to Tel Aviv, many say. Fishing provides a livelihood to many families and is an important source of food for residents of the Gaza Strip. Waters along the Gaza coast have long been overfished and many human rights organizations, such as the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) and B’Tselem, call for restoring the 20 nautical mile limit as stipulated in the interim Oslo Agreements almost 20 years ago.

About Petra Stastna

Petra Stastna comes from the Czech Republic where she has been active in various solidarity movements, including the struggle for justice and freedom for Palestine. She is currently in Gaza.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Israeli Gunboats Open Fire at Fishermen North of Gaza City

Al Mezan


At approximately 9:20 pm, on Wednesday June 5th 2013, Israeli naval vessels opened fire towards Palestinian fishing boats, Northwest of Al Waha Resort, northwest of Beit Lahyia. No causalities or injuries were reported.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Israeli Navel Vessels Open Fire towards Fishermen West of Gaza City

Al Mezan


On Saturday, 1st June 2013, at approximately 3:30 pm, Israeli naval vessels opened fire at a distance of six nautical miles toward Palestinian fishing boats west of Gaza’s fishermen port, west of Gaza City. The Israeli boats used a water canon on one fishing boat, “Flouka”, which belonged to Eyad Rajab al Hissi, 35. The flooding caused damage to the boat and its equipment. According to his affidavit to Al Mezan, he al Hissi stated,
'while I was fishing with my son Rajab and my brother Mohammed on board “Flouka”, which is a boat fixed in the middle of the sea and surrounded with lights in order to gather fish, I saw an Israeli vessel moving westward and following other fishermen boats two kilometers far from our boat. The Israeli gunboats shortly opened fire. I was afraid as I saw the other boats moving in the direction of my boat and followed by the Israeli gunboat. Meanwhile, I moved with my son and brother to another boat which vastly headed us to the east where we stopped at a distance of 300 meters away from our boat “Flouka”. The Israeli gunboat approached the boat and I heard gunfire and saw the Israeli forces using a water canon. After about two minutes, the boat’s lights went out on Flouka and I was therefore unable to see the boat anymore. Twenty minutes later, the Israeli gunboat left the area as I rushed to find my boat, which appeared to have sunk completely. At that time, I called Adel Abu Riyala, an owner of a boat “Lansh”, who came to help me. We found the sunken vessel and using ropes pulled the boat up and towed it to Gaza Port'.
According Al Hissi, eight lights were damaged, two motors were lost in the sea and another motor was damaged. There was evidence of much gunfire used against the boat.