Gaza Fishermen … Pathetic Catch

Gaza Fishermen … Pathetic Catch
28 فبراير100 مشاهدة

During last year, 2014, the Israeli occupation authorities intensified attacks on fishermen in the Gaza Strip by chasing them at sea on an ongoing basis, threatening their lives and safety. In addition, they prevented fishermen from carrying out their daily work in fishing by confiscating their nets, equipment, and boats, as well as manipulating the limits for fishing by allowing sometimes 3 nautical miles and other times 6 nautical miles. This affects fishermen and makes them unable to continue their work in fishing because of the dangers imposed on them by Israeli Navy Forces.

Those forces launched attacks against fishermen at sea by machine guns, artillery and missiles directed towards their boats to force them to leave their fishing areas. They detained the fishermen in an unjustified way at sea and transferred them to unknown locations inside the occupied Palestine. They do all these acts of aggression without any alert to fishermen, which spreads fear and panic among them and prevents them from doing their work freely and safely. Also, this leads fishermen to unemployment and deprives them of their right to work. According to the information and statements collected by Hemaya Center, the Israeli forces prevent fishermen from practicing their work, insulting them and threatening their lives. In addition, they are causing damage to fishermen’s equipment, tools and boats. These practices violate the obligations of the Israeli Occupation under international humanitarian law, particularly the Fourth Geneva Convention on civilians during war which prohibits collective punishment and targeting civilians and their own property. These practices also violate the Israeli obligations under the two International Covenants on Civil and Political Rights and on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

During 2014, according to Hemaya Center for Human Rights, the naval Israeli forces launched 129 attacks on fishermen at sea, killing one fisherman and directly injuring 14. The forces also arrested 47 fishermen.

Fishermen face very hard conditions due to the sea blockade and the Israeli restrictions and daily challenges that make it hard for them to practice fishing. Around 3800 fishermen, working along 40 km at the Gaza coast and taking care of around 50 thousands persons in Gaza, are affected by these Israeli practices. In addition, 2000 families, more than ten thousand persons, who are making living from other activities related to fishing are affected. These families are facing very miserable conditions of poverty, unemployment, and inability to meet their basic needs. Based on the statements collected from fishermen, most of them are no longer able to fish or to make good income from their fishing, and their families are suffering the lack of daily needs.

According to the information collected by the Center, the occupation forces carry out cruel practices against fishermen. These practices include imposing maritime blockade, attacking fishermen suddenly at sea, detaining, abusing, beating, humiliating, interrogating and intimidating them, opening fire deliberately at them at sea, and damaging or confiscating their fishing nets. They also include confiscation of their boats and their fishing equipment, pursuing them by the Israeli marines at sea and preventing them from fishing by forcing them to leave the rich fishing areas to other places. Furthermore, there is reduction and manipulation of the fishing limits allowed for Palestinian fishermen.

The Israeli practices against the Palestinian fishermen are incompatible with article 1/2 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of 1966, which states, “All peoples may, for their own ends, freely dispose of their natural wealth and resources without prejudice to any obligations arising out of international economic co-operation, based upon the principle of mutual benefit, and international law.” They are inconsistent with article 1/6, which state, “The States Parties to the present Covenant recognize the right to work, which includes the right of everyone to the opportunity to gain his living by work which he freely chooses or accepts, and will take appropriate steps to safeguard this right. It may not be acceptable in any way for a people to be deprived of their own means of subsistence.” They also contradict with article 52 of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, which states that “the prohibition of all measures that would lead to the unemployment of workers in the occupied country or restrict their possibilities order to induce them to work in the service of the State of the occupation.”

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