21st September 2013 | Palestinian Centre for Human Rights | Gaza, Occupied Palestine
On Wednesday, 18 September 2013, a Palestinian fisherman was injured and consequently one of his fingers was amputated when Israeli naval troops opened fire at Palestinian fishing boat on board of which 5 fishermen were sailing nearly 6 nautical miles off Gaza Harbour. The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) condemns the continuation of Israeli forces’ attacks against Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip and expresses deep concern over violations of fishermen’s right to work freely in Gaza sea.
According to investigation conducted by PCHR, at approximately 14:30 on Wednesday, 18 September 2013, a Palestinian fishing boat sailed from Gaza Harbour. Five fishermen were on board the boat. At approximately 16:30, the boat arrived at a point in the sea nearly 6 nautical miles of the shore. One of the fishermen, Ayman Ahmed Tulba, stated to a PCHR field worker that he and the other four fishermen threw their fishing nets into the water. Soon, they were surprised by an Israeli gunboat coming towards them. Israeli soldier opened fire at the fishing boat without any warning. Tulba added that the fishermen were extremely terrified and attempted to escape. The fishermen moved to the back of the boat. In the meantime, a bullet hit a lever that is used to pull fishing equipment, so its belt fell onto one of the fishermen, Saleem Khalil al-Fassih, 56, injuring him in the fingers of his right hand. Al-Fassih stated to PCHR that the Israeli naval troop continued to fire at the boat although it moved back up 4 nautical miles off the shore. The fishermen then called the Palestinian naval forces, and al-Fassih was evacuated to Shifa Hospital in Gaza, where doctors were forced to amputate one of his fingers. Al Fassih is still in need for a surgery.
PCHR condemns the continuous Israeli attacks against Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip, and:
- Calls for Palestinian fishermen to be allowed to sail and fish freely and an immediate end to the Israeli policy of chase and arrest while at sea;
- Demands compensation for the fishermen for the physical and material damage caused to them and their property as a result of these violations;
- Calls upon the international community, including the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of war, to intervene immediately to stop the Israeli violations against the Palestinian fishermen, and to allow them to sail and fish freely in the Gaza sea.