Israelis fire on unarmed Palestinian fishermen

Free Gaza is a nonviolent organization of “human rights observers, aid workers, and journalist,” as they say in Our Mission on their website. They have recently sailed from Cyprus to Gaza in two vessels, the SS Free Gaza and the SS Liberty, in order to deliver humanitarian aid and to test Israel’s blockade and occupation in Gaza. Here’s an excerpt from a press release:

As reported by the world press, news has travelled worldwide of the Free Gaza Movement. Supportive messages have come in, including from UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in the OPT, Richard Falk, who wrote:

“The landing of two wooden boats carrying 46 human rights activists in Gaza is an important symbolic victory. This non-violent initiative of the Free Gaza Movement focused attention around the world on the stark reality that the 1.5 million residents of Gaza have endured a punitive siege for more than a year. This siege is a form of collective punishment that constitutes a massive violation of Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. The siege, the coastal blockade, and overflights by Israeli aircraft all bear witness to the fact that despite Israel’s claimed ‘disengagement’ in 2005, these realities on the ground establish that Gaza remains under Israeli occupation, and as a result Israel remains legally responsible for protecting the human rights of its civilian population. By severely restricting the entry of food, fuel, and medicine the economic and social rights of the people of Gaza have been systematically violated. There is widespread deafness among the people of Gaza that is blamed on the frequent sonic booms produced by over-flying Israeli military aircraft. For this reason the peace boats brought 200 hearing aids to Gaza.”

The SS Free Gaza and the SS Liberty have returned to Cyprus, but some humanitarian observers remained in Gaza to accompany Palestinian fishermen on their fishing boats. This morning, Israeli naval vessels fired on those fishing boats. Here is the news release:

(OFF THE COAST OF GAZA) 1 September 2008 – Israeli Naval vessels are currently firing on unamrmed Palestinian fishing boats and international human rights workers off the coast of the Gaza Strip. The fishing boats are several miles off the coast of Gaza City, in Palestinian territorial waters. As of 11am (4am EST) no one had been injured, but live ammunition is still being fired in the direction of the civilian boats.
The unarmed boats went to sea at dawn this morning, in an attempt to fish in their own water. Six international human rights workers from five different countries accompanied the fishermen in the hopes that their presence would deter the Israeli military from firing on the fishermen. In the past the Israeli military has shot and killed unarmed Palestinian fishermen for trying to fish in their own waters.
Accompanying the fishermen are:
Vittorio Arrigoni, Italy
Georgios Karatzas, Greece
Adam Qvist, Denmark
Andrew Muncie, Scotland
Donna Wallach, USA
Darlene Wallach, USA

The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Tel. +972 2 530 3111
The British Embassy in Tel Aviv
+972 3 725 1222
The US Embassy in Tel Aviv
+972 2 625 5755

For more information, please contact:
(at sea, off Gaza coast) Vittorio Arrigoni, +972 598 826 516
(at sea, off Gaza coast) Donna Wallach, +972598 836 420
(Cyprus) Greta Berlin, +357 99 081 767 /
(Cyprus) Osama Qashoo, +357 97 793 595


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: