Monday, March 30, 2009

Gazan fishermen abducted by Israeli forces

Posted on the ISM webpage on: March 30, 2009

ISM Gaza

29 March 2009

Since Friday 13th March 2009, 16 fishermen from the Gaza Strip have been abducted by the Israeli Navy.

12 were abducted while fishing off the coast of Beit Lahia;

Zaki Mostafa Tarowsh, 44; Ismaeen Zaki Tarowsh, 16; Thaher Mahmoud Zayad, 45; and Nedal Thaher Zayad, 23 were abducted on Friday 13/02/2009.

Kamel Deeb Alankah, 57; and Yoness Deeb Zayal, 36 were abducted on Wednesady 18/03/2009.

Ramzy Mostafah Alsultan,36; Anes Mohammed Alsultan, 20; Ashraf Hossan Alsultan, 34; Mohammed Hossan Alsultan, 23; Mahmoud Mohammed Zayad, 23; and Fahme Salah Abu Reash, 18 were all abducted on Thursday 19/03/2009.

4 were abducted on Wednesday 25th March while fishing near Rafah;

Mohammed Abulah An Najjar, 26; Khalil abdullah an najjar, 20 ;Yousif Abdullah An Najjar, 18 ; and Ali Hasan an Najjar,18.

The fishermen were forced at gunpoint to strip naked and swim from their boats to the Israeli warships. After being taken to Ashdod they were all released within 24 hours. The Israeli Navy have however impounded all of their boats - 7 in total.

International law, and various agreements to which Israel is a signatory indeed recognise that the Fishermen from Gaza have a right to fish at least 12 miles from shore at a bare minimum. In practice however a “law of the gun” has been enforced by the Israeli Navy, and this right has been denied to them.

According to numerous reports from the international media the Israeli Navy were enforcing a no fishing zone 6 miles from shore prior to the wholesale attacks on the population of the Gaza Strip. It has been commonly reported that in the wake of these attacks, this limit has been reduced to 3 miles.

The fishermen abducted from Beit Lahia however say that this is not the whole story, and that for them, the limit has been reduced to a mere 200m. Were this not bad enough, all of them were actually within this limit when they were abducted. Several of them say that whilst in captivity, when they told Israeli investigators where they had been abducted from, the investigators expressed surprise and told them “… but that is not a forbidden area.”

It is unclear what the Israeli military regard as the official “forbidden” area. There are no official channels of communication open between the Israeli Navy and the fishermen from Gaza. All the information regarding this that the fishermen have is delivered at gunpoint, and is inconsistent with the actions of the gunboat crews. Experience informs the fishermen that at any moment any portion of Gaza’s territorial waters can be deemed “prohibited” by the gunboat crews, no matter how close to shore, and irrespective of what the gunboat commanders have previously decreed (the status of these decrees as both arbitrary and illegal in the context of international law should also be noted).

This uncertainty is further compounded by what the fishermen say are unusually high levels of aggression by the gunboats. On the 17th March 2009 a gunboat crew shot Deeb Alankah, in the arm and the back. He was less than 200m from shore near Beit Lahia, and says that no warning was given to him nor demand made before he was shot. Other fishermen confirm that typically when the Israeli gun boats begin shooting at them, they now do so without warning.

Deeb’s father Kamel Deeb Alankah was one of the fishermen abducted on the day after his son was shot. He says of his interrogation;

“A colonel in the intelligence said “We shot Deeb by mistake.”

I told him “why you shot at us, on the sands and the small boats, you killed us.”

He said all of this by mistakes, I said “no its not by mistake, when the shots hit a boat 3 meters long? Is that by mistake?””

Israel is refusing to return the 7 fishing boats - the sole means of income for fishermen already greatly impoverished by the siege on the Gaza Strip.

Updated on March 30, 2009

ISM Gaza Strip: 4 Rafah fishermen abducted, fishing boat stolen by Israeli Navy

On Wednesday 25 March 2009 at 8 a.m., about 2 km from Egypt and 1,5 km from the Rafah shore, a Palestinian "shanshula" fishing boat, No 67, was intercepted by an Israeli gunboat that opened fire. The Israeli Navy forced 3 of the Palestinian fishermen to take off their clothes, jump in the sea and swim to the Israeli gunboat, where they were handcuffed, blindfolded and beaten. The fourth fisherman was forced to take the fishing boat to Ashdod port. The 4 Palestinian fishermen from Rafah are the brothers:

- Mohammed Abdullah Halil Al Najar

- Youssef Abdullah Halil Al Najar

- Halil Abdullah Halil Al Najar

And their cousin Ali Hassan Halil Al Najar. The fishermen were held for 12 hours. They were given only trousers, and they remained without other clothes till their return to the Gaza Strip. Before entering, the soldiers destroyed the trousers of one of the fishermen. One of the brothers, Youssef, was also beaten during the interrogation. The Israelis didn't give any explanation for the abduction. At the question "Why you took us?" they replied "We arrest whoever we want, we injure whoever we want, we kill whoever we want." They also said that "this fishing boat will not be returned". Their 7,5 m long "shanshula" fishing boat is worth 5,000$ (US dollars) and is equipped with the following:

- fish finder 1,600 $

- 40 HP motor 4,500 $

- Nets 3,500 $

- Batteries 200 $

- Motor for the nets 1,800 $

That means a total of 16,600 $ is being stolen by the Israeli Navy.

About 6 or 7 years ago the same boat, along with a smaller one, had suffered a similar act of piracy by the Israeli Navy. The boats were returned but not the equipment - among other things the motors (25 and 15 thousands shekels each), and the nets of both boats (a total of 15 thousands shekels). On that occasion there were 5 fishermen abducted and among them was Mohammed. One of the abducted fishermen was Mohamed's uncle Hassan Halil Abdullah Al Najar (44). He was released a week later, but then arrested again on March 19th 2007. He has been sentenced to 8 years and he is imprisoned in Nafha prison. He was never allowed to receive visits from his relatives, as have been all the prisoners from Gaza Strip, for the past 2 years.

Another 2 members of the same family are prisoners. Mohammed's brother Said Abdullah Halil Al Najar (33) was arrested on November 30th 2005. He has been sentenced to 13 years and he is imprisoned in Ramon. Initially he was allowed to be visited by his mother and wife, but he too has been deprived of this right for 2 years now. During the recent abduction, his brothers were told by the Israelis in a sarcastic tone: "Your brother is our guest".

The cousin of the brothers, Ahmed Abdel Hadi Hamad Algoun has been sentenced to 11 years and he is in Nafha prison.

Their relatives say that all of them have been tortured while in custody.

Friday, March 27, 2009

PCHR: 1 fisherman wounded, 9 abducted in one week

Extracts from the PCHR weekly report No 12/2009 (19-25/3/2009)

IOF arrested 26 Palestinian civilians in the West Bank and nine fishermen in the Gaza Strip.

Monday, 23 March
At approximately 14:30, IOF naval troops opened fire at a number of Palestinian children who were on board of a fishing boat sailing approximately two miles away from Gaza Harbor. One of the children, 16-year-old Mahmoud Mahmoud Hijazi, 16, was wounded by a gunshot to the foot, and one of his fingers was amputated.

Wednesday, 25 March
At approximately 08:00, IOF gunboats intercepted a fishing boat opposite to Rafah beach. They arrested 4 Palestinians, including two children, who were on board the boat:

1. Mohammed 'Abdullah al-Najjar, 26;

2. Khalil 'Abdullah al-Najjar, 20;

3. Yousef 'Abdullah al-Najjar, 17;

4. 'Ali Hassan al-Najjar, 17.

· At approximately 12:00, IOF moved into 'Arraba village, southwest of Jenin. They raided and searched a number of houses, but no arrests were reported.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Four fishermen detained by Israeli navy released after interrogation

Date: 26 / 03 / 2009 Time: 20:51

Gaza- Ma’an – The Israeli army released four fishermen detained off the Rafah coast Wednesday, said the de facto Ministry of Prisoners Thursday.

The four men, ordered off their fishing vessel in the early hours of the morning, were members of the An-Najjar family, identified as Khalil, Muhammad, Yousif and Abd Allah.

The men say they were within the 2o nautical mile fishing limit imposed by Israeli warships, but were surrounded and ordered off their ship. They were handcuffed and taken to an unknown location, then released after eight hours of interrogation.

The ship has not been returned.

The ministry noted that the number of the fishermen detained since the Israeli disengagement in September 2005 is now more than 150. Most of the men were later released, but more than a dozen others were sentenced to terms for 5-15 years.

OCHA report 18-24/3/2009: 1 fisherman wounded

Extract from OCHA weekly report 18 – 24 March 2009 published on the 26th of March

One Palestinian fisherman was injured at
sea, when an Israeli patrol boat opened-fire
towards his boat. In another incident, five
fishermen were arrested by Israeli forces
while at sea. Since the implementation of
the ceasefires on 18 January 2009, a weekly
average of one Palestinian has been killed
and four Palestinians have been injured.

Incidents involving fishermen are part of
Israel’s ban on access of Palestinians to sea
areas beyond three nautical miles from the
shore, down from six nautical miles prior to
Israel’s “Cast Lead” offensive. This ban
impacts the catching of sardines, the bulk of
which are located beyond 12 nautical miles.
The livelihood of 3,000 fishermen and their
families is severely undermined, along with
a reduction in the availability of affordable
animal protein.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Al Mezan Center Condemns the Escalation of Israeli Violations against Palestinian Fishers and Calls on the International Community to Act


Al Mezan Center Condemns the Escalation of Israeli Violations against Palestinian Fishers and Calls on the International Community to Act, and Civil Society to Intensify its Solidarity Campaigns

Reference: 31/2009
The Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) have escalated their violations against Palestinian fishers in the Gaza Strip. Today, the IOF arrested four fishers and opened fire at another, injuring him.

At approximately 8.00am on Wednesday 25 March 2009, Israeli gunboats opened fire at a small fishing boat which was in the sea west of the Fishers Port. The boat was close to the shore and had not gone beyond the Israeli imposed fishing limit.

According to fishermen who were near the area, three Israeli gunboats surrounded the Palestinian fishing boat and ordered the fishermen to take off their clothes, jump in the water and swim towards one of the gunboats. They took the fishers and their boat to an unknown destination. According to information collected by Al Mezan field workers, the fishermen were identified as Mohammed Abdullah Khalil An-Najar, 27; his brother Khalil, 22; Yousef Abdullah An-Najar, 19; and Hasan Khalil An-Najar, 19.

A few days earlier, on 23 March 2009 at approximately 3.30pm, Israeli gunboats opened heavy fire at Palestinian fishing boats in the open sea close to Gaza beach. The shooting injured the fisherman Mohammed Mahmoud Al-Louh, 19, from Gaza City.

Al Mezan Center for Human Rights strongly condemns the continuous escalation of the IOF offensive against Palestinian civilians, including fishermen. These practices constitute grave and systematic violations of the rights guaranteed by international human rights law and international humanitarian law.

Al Mezan renews its calls for the international community to immediately intervene and stop the ongoing Israeli violations of human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories. Al Mezan emphasizes that the continued silence of the international community is unacceptable, particularly after the unprecedented scale of the war crimes and crimes against humanity perpetrated in the recent Israeli offensive against the Gaza Strip.

Al Mezan calls on civil society organizations throughout the world to increase their solidarity campaigns with the victims of human rights violations and Israeli war crimes in the oPt, and to put pressure on their governments to take action to halt Israeli war crimes.

Israeli Navy detains four fishermen and their boat

Wednesday March 25, 2009 11:37 by Saed Bannoura - IMEMC & Agencies

Palestinian sources in the Gaza Strip reported on Wednesday morning that the Israeli Navy attacked a Palestinian fishing boat, kidnapped the four fishermen who were onboard, and took over the boat, the Quds Net reported.
FIle - Israeli Navy firing shells - Image by Quds Net
FIle - Israeli Navy firing shells - Image by Quds Net

The fishermen, three brothers and a relative were taken to an unknown destination. They were fishing in Palestinian territorial waters near Rafah, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip.
The boat belongs to Abdullah-Khalid Al Najjar. The kidnapped fishermen were identified as Khalil Abdullah Al Najjar, Yousef Abdullah Al Najjar, and Mohammad Abdullah Al Najjar. The fourth is their relative; he was identified as Ali Hasan Al Najjar.
The Israeli Navy continued its attacks against the fishermen and repeatedly shelled Palestinian fishing boats, wounded and kidnapped dozens of fishermen.
On Monday a young Palestinian fisherman was shot and seriously wounded when the Israeli navy shelled an area in al-Sudaniyya, north-east of Gaza City.
On Tuesday, March 17, one Palestinian civilian was injured when Israeli naval boats opened fire on residents and fishermen who gathered at the beach near the Beit Lahia town.
The Israeli army killed eight Palestinian fishermen in the past twelve months, medical sources reported.
Attacks against Palestinian fishermen were repeatedly carried out by the army even before Israel imposed the siege on Gaza, the sources added.
IOF Detains Four Fishermen in Open Sea in Rafah
At app. 8am on 25 March 2009, IOF gunboats opened fire at a Palestinian fishing boat in open sea in Rafah. Three Israeli boats surrounded the palestinian boat and ordered the fishermen through loudspeakers to take off their clothes and swim towards them. Then, they took them to an nkown destinatios. Those fhishmermen were identifies as:

  • Mohammed Abulah An Najjar, 26

  • Khalil abdullah an najjar, 20

  • Yousif Abdullah An Najjar, 18

  • Ali Hasan an Najjar,18.


Israeli naval crews detain four fishermen; damage boat near Rafah coast
Date: 25 / 03 / 2009 Time: 11:15

Gaza – Ma’an – Israeli naval crews detained four fishermen near the Rafah coast in the southern Gaza early Wednesday morning and transferred them to an unknown location.

Israel gunships approached the fishing boat as it prepared its nets around dawn. The boat was taken after the men were ordered to board the naval vessel.

Last week several fishermen reported having shots fired at their boats in what appears to be an attempt to prevent Gazans from revitalizing the fishing industry following the total collapse during the three-week onslaught.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Israel's navy fires on Gaza shore; fisherman injured

Date: 23 / 03 / 2009 Time: 16:13

Gaza – Ma’an – A Palestinian fisherman was injured in Israeli shelling on Palestinian boats at the Gaza Strip shore on Monday.

Medical sources in Gaza reported that 18-year-old Muhammad Al-Lawwah was seriously wounded in the shelling and was taken to Ash-Shifa Hospital for treatment.

The head of Emergency and Ambulance Services Dr Mu’awiyah Hassanein said that the Israeli ships fired on fishing boats at the Gaza City shore.


IOF Gunboats Shoot Palestinian Fisherman at Gaza Beach
At app. 15.30, on 23 March 2009, IOF gunboats opened fire at 19-year-old fisherman, Mohammed Mahmoud Al Louh from Gaza City. He was reported to have sustained moderate injuries according to Al Shifa hospital.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

PCHR weekly report 12-18/3/2009: 1 fisherman seriously wounded by israeli gunshots

 Tuesday, 17 March 

At approximately 06:00, IOF naval troops opened fire at a number of Palestinian fishermen at Beit Lahia coast in the northern Gaza Strip. A fisherman, Deeb Kamel al-Anqah, 23, was seriously wounded by several gunshots to the chest and hands.

OCHA report 11-17/3/2009: 1 fisherman wounded

This is an extract from OCHA weekly report (11-17/3/2009) published on the 19th of March

Gaza Strip Update

Palestinian casualties

In various violent incidents during the
reporting period, the Israeli military injured
four Palestinian civilians, compared to six
civilians injured during the previous period.
Among those civilians injured this week
were two farmers, one fisherman and
another man injured during an incursion east
of Rafah. A total of ten Palestinians have
been killed and 40 others injured in Israeli-
Palestinian violence since the ceasefires
declared on 18 January 2009.

Restrictions on access to land and sea

Israeli restrictions on Palestinian access to land
and sea inside the Gaza Strip continues to
severely damage livelihoods. These restrictions
include access of farmers to their land located
in the north and east along the border with
Israel, and access of fishermen to fishing areas
beyond three nautical miles from the shore.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

IOF Detains Two Fishermen in Open Sea North of Gaza


At app. 6am, on 18 March 2009, IOF opened fire at Palestinians fishermen in open sea, close to Al Waha resort, west of Beit Lahia town. They also detained Kamel Deep Al Anqah, 50, and Younis Diab Zayid, 37, and took them an unknown destination.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Israeli Naval boats open fire on fishermen near Gaza beach injuring one

Tuesday March 17, 2009 15:17 by Ghassan Bannoura - IMEMC News & Agencies
One Palestinian civilian was injured midday Tuesday when Israeli naval boats opened fire on residents and fishermen gathered at the beach near the Beit Lahyia town in the central Gaza Strip.

Palestinian fishermen off the coast of Gaza City May 2008 Wissam Nassar - MaanImages
Palestinian fishermen off the coast of Gaza City May 2008 Wissam Nassar - MaanImages

The Palestinian Ministry of health in Gaza said that the Israeli boats opened fire on fishing boats and on residents gathered nearby while fisherman were on their way back to the shore. Doctors reported that one man sustained moderate wounds, and was moved to a nearby hospital for treatment.
In the past 12 months, Israeli naval forces have killed eight Palestinian fishermen while doing their work, Palestinian sources reported.

Israeli gunboats wound a Palestinian north of Gaza

Gaza, March 17, 2009 (RAMATTAN) - A Palestinian citizen was wounded on Tuesday as the Israeli navy opened fire along the shore of Gaza in the northern Gaza Strip, Palestinian medical sources said. The sources added that Deeb Al-Ankaa was moderately injured after the Israeli gunboats targeted the Palestinian fishermen's boats north of Gaza near the city of Bait Lahiya.

Earlier yesterday, The Israeli navy opened fire towards Palestinian fishermen along the shore of Gaza near the city of Gaza, no injuries or damage was reported.

Palestinian wounded by Israeli naval fire in northern Gaza
Date: 17 / 03 / 2009 Time: 10:17
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Gaza - Ma'an - A Palestinian was wounded after Israeli warships opened fire at civilians and fishermen in Beit Lahiya in northern Gaza on Tuesday morning.

The head of Ambulance and Emergency Services in Gaza's Health Ministry, Mu'awiyya Hassanein, reported that the boats targeted residents on the coastal road, where civilian Deeb Al-Anttah was wounded and then transferred to Kamal Udwan Hospital for treatment.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Blockade effect on Gaza's fishermen

This is a report about the effect the recent war on Gaza and the continued blocked have on the fishermen of Gaza, not is it only becoming more and more dangerous but unfruitful as well. (Taken from Aljazeera English "Focus on Gaza", March 15, 2009)

The high cost of living

Posted in the ISM webpage on: March 15, 2009

Sharon Lock | Tales to Tell

13 March 2009

Excerpt from ‘The high cost of living’

The price of fish…

The price of fish...

The price of fish...

Yesterday I went to the Kabariti family for Friday lunch, a fish barbeque. I took with me three of the “letters from the world” that were delivered by the Free Gaza boat last year. These letters were from a mother and her two daughters in California, so we decided to give them to the Kabariti girls and their mum, all of whom read English.

The girls and I sat in the sunny front window and they excitedly began to read their letters and compose messages to email in reply (no postal service is possible under siege.) A few minutes later I realised I could hear shooting. Their dad M always keeps binoculars beside the sea window, but I didn’t need them. Looking out, I could see two Israeli gunboats well on this side of the horizon, looping about and firing on Palestinian fishing boats. No more than three miles from the shore

Some of the little boats began to head back to the port, so I stomped off down the street to meet them, as the shooting continued, to see what I could find out. I spoke to Ahmed Abel Aziiz, who had just tied up his boat. He said the shooting had been going on half an hour and he was giving up for the day, but he thought that more than ten boats, some medium and some small like his, were still out there. Nobody was arrested or wounded yet. I stomped back to eat my lunch, pleased to see the Kabariti kids out in the garden after their weeks of hiding inside, but eyeing the parsley in the salad and the fish on my plate with part respect and part despair.

Later on I rang M and he said that fishermen Zaki Tarouch and Talal Tarouch, and Dahr Zayad and his son, had been arrested by the Israeli gunboats. He also said we are entering the three best months for fishing, the time the fishermen depend on to get them through the rest of the year.100_10111


The fishermen were released in the night, but their boats - their method of earning a living - have been kept by Israel. As we enter the three months Gaza fishermen depend on the most.

Updated on March 18, 2009

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Get bullets while fishing in Gaza

Fishermen in boats at sea in Gaza are always in danger as Israeli gun boats fire at them. What do you think about the effect of conflicts of the world to general people? Footage from Al jazeera licensed in Creative Commons

Thursday, March 12, 2009

OCHA report 4-10/3/2009: Access to fisheries further restricted

extract from OCHA weekly report (4 – 10 March 2009) published on 12 March

Access to fisheries further restricted
The Israeli authorities further restricted the
access of Gaza’s fishermen to three nautical
miles from the shore. This is a reduction
from the six nautical miles imposed between
the time the blockade was imposed on Gaza
in June 2007 and the start of “Cast Lead” on
27 December. It is a significant reduction
from the 12 nautical miles Israel committed
to under the Bertini Commitments in 2002.
This reduction raises concerns over the
upcoming fishing season, which reaches its
annual peak in mid-April. In three separate
incidents (4, 6 and 10 March), Israeli patrol
boats fired towards Palestinian fishing boats,
forcing the boats to return to shore.

PCHR: Mother & cild wounded on shore after Israeli gunboats open fire at Palestinian fishing boats

This is an extract from PCHR weekly report No. 10/2009 05- 11 March 2009

Saturday, 07 March

At approximately 18:00, IOF gunboats opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats in Rafah. As a result, a woman her child, who live in the Swedish village at the coast in Rafah, were wounded:

1. Reem 'Omar Hassouna, 25;

2. Nivine Yasser Hassouna, 3.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Israel’s navy attacks fishermen along Gaza shore; bombs Rafah tunnels

Date: 06 / 03 / 2009 Time: 09:33
تكبير الخط تصغير الخط
Gaza – Ma'an – Two fresh Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip were reported Friday morning on the southern Strip. No injuries were reported though damage to the Rafah tunnels was sustained.

First thing Friday Israeli gunboats opened fire at Palestinian fishermen on the shore near Khan Younis and Rafah then Israeli warplanes renewed bombing against underground smuggling tunnels along the Gaza-Egypt border.

The attacks mark the third in two days, the earliest of which killed three Palestinian militiamen.

On Thursday morning, Israeli aircraft attacked a group a Palestinian fighters east of Al-Maghazi Refugee Camp, killing three. On Wednesday night, a separate strike killed a leader in the Al-Quds Brigades, the armed wing of Islamic Jihad.

Islamic Jihad has vowed to avenge those attacks, and began by firing a barrage of homemade projectiles into Israel. Israeli officials said the rockets landed in an open area and cause no damage.