ISM Gaza | Fishing Under Fire
29 May 2009
The Israeli Navy continues its aggression towards the Palestinian fishermen. Since the declaration of the “ceasefire” at least 5 fishermen have been injured by gunfire in the sea while another 5 have been reportedly injured on shore by Israeli shelling. 40 abductions have been reported (at least 2 fishermen abducted twice) and 17 “confiscations” of fishing boats About 10 fishing boats have been returned but with damages and equipment missing, and one hassaka was stolen again. Some of the latest incidents:
Wednesday, 20 May 2009
Some hours before hundreds of Palestinian fishermen and supporters demonstrated in the sea, Khalil Abdullah Al Najar and his brother Ibrahim Abdullah Al Najar were abducted off shore of Rafah, while they were trying to collect their nets. Their hassaka (small fishing boat) along with the paddle and the net for sardines have been stolen. The two brothers were later released.
Khalil has been abducted again along with other 2 of his brothers and one of his cousins on the 25th of March while fishing in a shanshula boat. The 4 fishermen were later released and after several days and the intervention of Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, the shanshula boat was also returned but without the motor.
Another brother, a cousin and an uncle of the 2 fishermen are prisoners in Israeli jails, they have been tortured and have been deprived of their right to be visited by their families.
Tuesday, 26 May 2009
According to their testimony, Nahed Hassan Abdel Rahman Hassouna (41) and Mohammed Abdel Rahman Hassouna (45), at about 6.30 am, while they were fishing about 200 meters from the Rafah shore and about 3 km from the Egyptian border, they were approached by a zodiac of the Israeli Navy. The zodiac started to go around the hassaka. The Israeli soldiers ordered the Palestinian fishermen to leave their nets and gave them a cable to pull the small fishing boat towards a bigger gunboat. The 2 fishermen were ordered to take off their clothes, jump in the water and swim to the bigger Daboura gunboat. When they arrived they were handcuffed and blindfolded by the Israeli soldiers who took them along with their hassaka to Ashdod port.
According to the testimony of one of the 2 fishermen, the Israeli security officer asked them to collaborate with the Israeli military, to become spies. The fishermen refused. The reply of one of them was that he doesn’t know anything and he only works from the sea to his house. So the Israelis accused them to have reached the Egyptian borders, something that the fishermen denied. Later, at about 6.45 pm they were released but their hassaka remains stolen along with the paddle.
The fishermen told the ISM Gaza Strip volunteers that this is the worst year for them ever and that the only thing they want is to survive and live with security.
The same night of 26th of May, at about 11 pm, another brother of the Najar family, Youssef Abdullah Al Najar ( who was also abducted on the 25th of March ) was attacked again by the Israeli Navy. According to his father Abdullah Khalil Abdullah Al Najar, the boat owner, Youssef was fishing in a felouka boat (see photo) when he was approached by an Israeli gunboat which started to make circles around the fishing boat. The waves made the felouka turn upside down and the fisherman lost part of his equipment: a 9hp 5 KW generator, which cost when is used 5,000 NIS, but it cost 8,000 NIS to buy a new one. And 2 projector lights 400W (see photo) which cost 100 US $ each.
Wednesday, 27 May 2009
The next morning, approximately in the same area, another felouka (see photo) was attacked in the same way, and was turned upside down, and the boat owner Jamal Bassel lost a 10hp 5KW generator that costs about 1,000 US $. Also 2 of his projector lights were damaged and it will cost him about 100 to 150 NIS to fix each one of them. According to him, one of the fishermen in the felouka was lightly injured during the incident when the paddle hit him at the chest.
In another area, in northern Gaza Strip, Zaki Taroush (45) and his son Zayed Zaki Moustafa Taroush (17) were fishing at about 200 m south of Wafa and about 600 m from the coast. At about 6.00 am they were approached by 2 Izraeli zodiacs who opened fire around the hassaka. Zaki Taroush tried to escape but on of the zodiacs blocked it’s way. The Israeli soldiers told the Palestinian fishermen to go west. Zaki replied that they were fishing in an allowed area. But the Israeli soldiers ordered him to stop talking and go west. Zaki saw another hassaka forced to go west, with Jihad As Sultan and Mohammed Ahmed Abou Warda. Zaki was forced to paddle his hassaka for about an hour and a half till he reached a buoy marking the borders. He was then forced to strip completely naked and then jump in the water and swim for about 50 meters to an Israeli gunboat. There him and his son were blindfolded and handcuffed. In fact Zaki was blindfolded twice and very tightly something that made him hurt. He was given clothes and his son a blanket. He was brought to Ashdod, examined by a doctor and made sign a paper that his health was OK. He was then taken for interrogation and he recognized the same officer that has interrogated him before. [Zaki Taroush, with another of his sons, were abducted on the 13th of March. They were later released but their hassaka has been confiscated for almost 2 months, and it was returned a couple of weeks ago, along with 8 other hassakas, through the Karem Abou Salem crossing. The fishermen had to pay about 150 NIS for the transportation of the hassakas back home. Zaki has also lost a house that has built for his sons and it was bulldozed by the IOF during the recent war]
Zaki Taroush was interrogated about an incident that happened on the 13th of April and the Israelis claim that it was an attack from the Palestinian armed resistance. It happened in the area that usually Zaki is fishing. He told them that he wasn’t there that day but they didn’t believe him. He was trying to explain that he couldn’t possibly be there because his hassaka was still “confiscated” by the Israeli Navy. The Israelis told him that he has to be responsible for his area and not to worry because they will protect him. He replied that he can’t give them information because that will make him spy for all of his life and finally he will be killed by the resistance. He cannot work for them and he has to work to bring food for 10 people at home. They Israelis asked him to keep in touch with them. They asked for his mobile number, and said that he couldn’t remember. Then they found his house number and they called and put him to speak with his other son. At about 7 o’clock they were all released.
Jihad As Sultan (46) had a very similar story to tell. The only difference is that he was accused to cross the Israeli borders. The Israelis shot the balloons that were holding his nets and he lost them, which makes a loss of 1,000 US $, but he estimates the total loss of his fishing property up to 5.000 US $. He was also asked to work for the Israelis. They said that if he wants to work in this area he has to work for them. He was also given a vague sketch [see photo] showing roughly the areas that the Palestinian fishermen are allowed to fish. While he was in custody he managed to see a lot of the nets stolen from the Gazan fishermen. It was the third time that Jihad was abducted by the Israeli Navy. The first time was 9 years ago and the second, last August.
Note: ISM Gaza Strip volunteers, in the evening of 28th of May, while they were heading to Sudaniya to meet the Taroush family, they witnessed Israeli gunboats open fire towards Palestinian fishing boats. The attack was obvious as the Israelis were also using tracer bullets. During the meeting with the fishermen, the attack has been intensified and the Israeli Navy used also shells.