Israeli Forces Attack Gaza Fishermen, Infiltrate Borders

GAZA, July 19, 2016 (WAFA) – Israeli navy and army forces Tuesday opened their heavy machine gunfire at Palestinian fishermen, injuring at least one, as well as infiltrated Gaza borders.

WAFA correspondent said Israeli naval boats opened their heavy machine live gunfire at fishermen, despite sailing within the six-nautical miles fishing zone offshore Gaza’s al-Sudaniya area. One of the fishermen was shot with in the hand, causing him moderate injuries, which necessitated his transfer to hospital for treatment.

One of the boats was also damaged. The fishermen were forced to return back to shore for fear of being detained, injured, or killed.

Meanwhile, four Israeli military tanks, accompanied by bulldozers, infiltrated the borders with Gaza and went almost 150 meters into Palestinian agricultural land to the east of al-Qarara area, in the southern Strip.

The forces razed the land and placed earth mounds in the area, while firing live fire and smoke bombs in all directions.

Israeli navy and troops routinely open fire on Palestinian fishermen sailing within the six-nautical-miles zone and farmlands along the border, flagrantly violating the ceasefire deal that was reached in August 2014.

The current six-nautical-mile fishing zone falls drastically short of the twenty nautical miles allocated to Palestinian fishermen in the 1993 Oslo Accords.

According to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), all Israeli attacks on Palestinian fishermen have taken place within the distance of six nautical miles, which it said “proves that Israeli forces’ policies aim to tighten restrictions on the Gaza Strip’s fishermen and their livelihoods.”

“While Israeli authorities last month expanded the fishing zone designated for Palestinian fishermen to nine nautical miles in the southern Gaza Strip, and retained the six mile zone in the north, fishermen regularly report detentions, live fire, and boat confiscation within these s.”

Furthermore, Palestinians farmers are often targeted by Israeli forces if they approach borderline land that Israeli forces have deemed off-s to Palestinians.

In its weekly report on Israeli human rights violations in the occupied Palestinian Territories, PCHR said the illegal closure, which has been steadily tightened since June 2007 has had a disastrous impact on the humanitarian and economic situation in the Gaza Strip.

For nine consecutive years, Israel has tightened the land and naval closure to isolate the Gaza Strip from the West Bank, including occupied Jerusalem, and other countries around the world,” said PCHR.

“This resulted in grave violations of the economic, social and cultural rights and a deterioration of living conditions for 1.8 million people,” it added.