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Gaza fishermen petition High Court

Aviad Glickman | YNet News

16 June 2009

Four Palestinians from Gaza petitioned the High Court of Justice Tuesday in an effort to get back their confiscated fishing boat, seized by the IDF last month.

The fishermen claim that their livelihood had been gravely undermined by Israel’s Defense Ministry and demand compensation in addition to the ship’s return.

The Navy operates near Gaza’s shores regularly in a bid to prevent maritime terror attacks and often encounters innocent fishermen, who are promptly warned to sail back to permitted zones. However, the petitioners claim that they were sailing in an approved area during the incident in question.

According to the petition, two IDF vessels approached the ship, fired at it, and ordered the crew to leave. Later, a Navy boat approached the fishing vessel and ordered the fishermen to disembark, the petitioners said. The soldiers are said to have covered the fishermen’s eyes and handcuffed them.

Two Palestinians were eventually questioned by Shin Bet officials following the seizure, before being returned to the Gaza Strip via the Erez crossing. The four ship owners say Israeli officials promised to return the ship and its contents within a week, but have not done so to date.

The petitioners say they approached the Defense Ministry several times but have not received a relevant response. They said that none of them were ever involved in terror activity against Israel.