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Israeli forces shoots Gazan fisherman at shore

27 November 2010 | International Solidarity Movement, Gaza

Ahmed Mahmoud Jarboh

At 12:30 pm, Ahmed Mahmoud Jarboh, aged 26, was shot in the back of the left knee by the Israeli Offensive Forces while fishing at the shore of Beit Lahya, in the north of the Gaza Strip. He is currently hospitalized in Kamal Udwan, in the neighboring town Jabalya, where his condition is being monitored.

Beit Lahya borders the Mediterranean Sea to the west and the 1949 Armistice Line with Israel to the north. The village’s economical resources are crippled by Israeli policies that restrict the fishing zone to three nautical miles and impose a 300 meter buffer zone on Palestinian land.

For over a year Ahmed has daily frequented the same area to fish with a small cast net. Today he and two of his colleagues were fishing from the shore at approximately 350 meters from the border fence. This incident again exemplifies a recent UN report conclusion that the danger zone does not halt at 300 meters: it can reach up to 1.5 kilometers.

“For over a year I have come here daily to fish. The soldiers in the watchtower see me every day: they know I am only a fisher! There was no reason for them to be suspicious as this is a normal, daily scene. Nothing special was going on.”

Even though the IOF soldiers should be familiar with Ahmed’s face, he was shot without warning:

“The only shot that was fired was the one that hit my leg”, he states.

When they heard the bullet being fired, the two other fishermen ran away to find shelter. As soon as they considered the situation “safe” again, they realized what had happened. They went to pick up Ahmed from the water and brought him to the hospital. The wound is stitched now, but probably surgery will not be necessary. It is still uncertain how long Ahmed will have to remain in the hospital and how long it will take for him to fully recover from this injury.

“I’m a father of two and I am the sole provider for my family. We have nothing else than what I gain from fishing.”

The 3 nautical mile restriction has resulted in a depletion of revenues which pushes people into the dangerous buffer zone. According to the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, there have been nine people injured this month while working in the buffer zone. Ahmed Mahmoud Jarboh marks the tenth victim of IOF buffer zone aggression in four weeks.