Israeli navy detains five Gaza fishermen, seize boat

Israeli navy early Wednesday detained five Palestinian fishermen and seized their boat offshore al-Waha shore, northwest of Beit Lahia, in the northern besieged Gaza Strip, according to WAFA correspondent.

He said that the naval boats intercepted a fishing boat offshore the area and rounded up five fishermen.  

Israeli naval forces have detained five Palestinian fishermen off the coast of the blockaded Gaza Strip, according to a local NGO on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) condemned in a press statement the continued Israeli attacks against Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Sea.

 PCHR said that according to its investigations, at approximately 00:00 today, Israeli naval forces surrounded a fishing boat sailing within the fishing area allowed for Palestinian fishermen and belonging to a 70-year-old fisherman off al-Waha Shore. The fishing boat was manned by several fishermen. The Israeli naval forces ordered the fishermen to take their clothes off, jump into the water and swim towards the gunboat. The fishermen were then arrested and taken to Ashdod Seaport and their fishing boat was confiscated.

It added that it has been following up the legal file of the detained fishermen to know where they are being held and to return their fishing boat.

“It is noteworthy that the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) restrict Palestinian fishermen’s work and allow them to sail only within 6 to 12 nautical miles in the western Gaza Strip. Since the beginning of 2023, PCHR has documented injury of 10 fishermen and arrest of 15 others. Also, 7 fishing boats have been confiscated and damaged,” the statement read.

PCHR emphasized that “the Israeli practices against Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip constitute a grave breach of all international conventions and instruments, including the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.”

It reiterated “its call on the international community, including the High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Conventions of 1949, to exert pressure on the Israeli occupation authorities to cease attacks and pursuit of Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Sea, as well as allowing fishermen to fish freely”, while calling upon “the Israeli authorities to release the detained fishermen and compensate all fishermen for their losses incurred by the continued Israeli attacks in addition to releasing the fishing boats and equipment.”

Two million Palestinians live the Gaza Strip, which has been subjected to a punishing and crippling Israeli blockade for 12 years and repeated onslaughts that have heavily damaged much of the enclave’s infrastructure.

Gaza’s 2-million population remains under “remote control” occupation and a strict siege, which has destroyed the local economy, strangled Palestinian livelihoods, plunged them into unprecedented rates of unemployment and poverty, and cut off from the rest of the occupied Palestinian territories and the wider world.

Gaza remains occupied territory, having no control over its borders, territorial waters or airspace. Meanwhile, Israel upholds very few of its responsibilities as the occupying power, failing to provide for the basic needs of Palestinian civilians living in the territory.

Every two in three Palestinians in Gaza is a refugee from lands inside what is now Israel. That government forbids them from exercising their right to return as enshrined in international law because they are not Jews.

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