27th July 2015 | International Solidarity Movement, Gaza Team | Gaza, Occupied Palestine
Ahmed: “Once I recover I’ll go fishing again…” Ismail (Ahmed’s father): “No, you won’t! That’s enough…”
As Ismail tells ISM, “the occupation establishes the fishing limits according to the season. When there’s fish within 3-6 miles they don’t let us go further than 2-3 miles… even 1’5… When there’s no fish before 7-10 miles they allow us to reach the 6 miles.”
ISM Gaza visited Ahmed Al Sharafi (20 years old) and his father, Ismail Al Sharafi. They explained how, after more than a month without going out to the sea, due to the scarce fish and the huge risk of getting shot and/or kidnapped by the zionist occupation forces, Ahmed tried to convince his father to go out. Finally Ismail accepted, as they didn’t have anything left to feed their 8 member family.
After throwing the nets for hours within the 6 miles limit imposed by the occupation without getting any fish, desperately, they decided to take an even greater risk and go further. When they were around 7 miles, an Israeli warship approached them and, without any prior warning, started shooting live ammunition around their boat. They then were told to stop the engine and to jump to the water. Ismail refused to obey and headed to the shore. At this point the Israeli ship started to make big waves around the small boat in order to overturn it, but failed, so then they started shooting live ammunition against them and their boat.
The engine was hit, as was Ahmed’s back, just a centimeter from the spine. Luckily the engine didn’t stop working, so Ismail could continue running away with his badly injured son lying on the floor of the small boat and leaving behind the expensive and extremely scarce nets.
At this point the zionist soldiers were satisfied and decided to let them go back to the besieged strip of land where they survive. Until they meet again.
Near there, Ahmed’s brother’s boat was also attacked and he was forced as well to leave behind its nets. In 2012 Ahmed and his brother were already kidnapped and their family boat stolen. As Ismail tells ISM, “the occupation establishes the fishing limits according to the season. When there’s fish within 3-6 miles they don’t let us go further than 2-3 miles… even 1’5… When there’s no fish before 7-10 miles they allow us to reach the 6 miles.”
On the same day Ahmed was shot, Youssef Barakat and Haizam Baker were injured with rubber-coated steel bullets, kidnapped, and their boat was stolen.
Haizam explained to ISM that this boat was his brother-in-law’s, as his was already stolen a month before. When they were around 5 miles away from the shore, the zionists approached and shot Haizam a rubber-coated bullet to the head just before shooting the engine, causing it to stop working. Haizam tried to cover the engine with his body, so they wouldn’t shoot it again, but failed. At this point he got shot in his legs with rubber-coated bullets.
After that he was ordered to take off his clothes and stand naked on the front of the boat before being told to jump to the water and swim towards them, despite the injuries. Once in the warship, he was beaten by the soldiers with the butt of their guns and taken to Ashdod.
This boat was feeding 24 persons, who now lost their main source of income.