Palestinian fisherman injured in an accident while escaping Israeli gunship attack ~ by Rosa Schiano

 6th July 2013 | International Solidarity Movement, Rosa Schiano | Gaza, Occupied Palestine

In the early hours of the morning of Sunday June 30th 2013, Sharif Arafat, a 30-year-old Palestinian fisherman, was injured on a fishing boat off the coast of Soudania, North of the Gaza Strip.

Sharif Arafat (Photo: Rosa Schiano)

Sharif Arafat (Photo by Rosa Schiano)

The captain of the boat, Nafiz At Habeel, reported that during the night the strong wind had pushed the vessel about 6 miles from the coast of Soudania. Around midnight an Israeli military navy ship had approached and then gone away. In the early hours of the morning, at around 3:30am to 4:00am, the fishermen threw their nets into the sea. An Israeli navy ship approached the fishing boat and they started shooting. Nafiz told us that the fishermen tried to hide in order to avoid the bullets, while Sharif Arafat ran to the side where the fishing nets were. Sharif, an inexperienced fisherman, did not know how to move in the event of gunshots by the army. One of the nets became caught up around his leg.

“Sharif was terrified, his ankle was trapped”, Nafiz told us. As he couldn’t swim, Sharif clung to the boat as not to fall into the water, while the nets pulled him down. His ankle was severely fractured and broken, and Sharif fell into the water. Nafiz told us that he had tried to pull in the nets with the engine. “These nets float, I cried at Sharif to cling to a ball of the fishing net”, said Nafiz. Sharif was then pulled on board and taken to the port of Gaza City through a Hasaka, a small boat that usually accompanies the vessels.

During the incident the fishermen had relit the lights of the boats, which usually go off when they cast their nets. The Israeli navy has since moved away, probably because the soldiers had realized that something serious had happened.

We met Sharif Arafat at Shifa hospital in Gaza City, where he was hospitalized following the accident.

The hospital report states that Sharif had a partially amputated right ankle due to trauma.

(Photo: Rosa Schiano)

(Photo by Rosa Schiano)

Sharif Arafat is not a professional fisherman. “I went fishing only because of the economic situation, I cannot even swim”, said Sharif, who had begun to fish only 5 months earlier. Sharif is married, has one child and his wife is pregnant with a second child.

Sharif was frightened by the idea that his foot could be amputated. His brother Alaa, next to him in the hospital, was in tears. The same evening Sharif was transferred urgently to a hospital in Israel to be operated on, thanks to the intervention of the Palestinian Center for Human Rights who called for an acceleration of the procedures such was the emergency. In the Gaza Strip such surgery was not available.

We are still waiting for news on the conditions of Sharif Arafat.


Israel has progressively imposed restrictions on Palestinian fishermen’s access to the sea. The 20 nautical miles established under the agreements of Jericho in 1994 between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), have been reduced to 12 miles below the Bertini Agreement in 2002. In 2006, the area consented to the fishing has been reduced to 6 nautical miles from the coast. Following the Israeli military offensive “Cast Lead” (2008-2009) Israel has imposed a limit of 3 nautical miles from the coast, preventing Palestinians from access to 85% of the water to which they are entitled according to the Jericho agreements of 1994.

(Photo: Rosa Schiano)

(Photo by Rosa Schiano)

Under the agreements reached between Israel and the Palestinian resistance after the Israeli military offensive in November 2012, “Pillar of Defense,” they consented that Gazan fishermen can again fish to 6 nautical miles from the coast. Despite these agreements, the Israeli navy has not stopped attacks on Gaza fishermen, even within this limit. In March 2013, Israel imposed once again a limit of 3 nautical miles from the coast, saying that the decision had been taken following the sending of some Palestinian rockets towards Israel. On Wednesday 22nd May, the Israeli military authorities announced through some media outlets the decision to extend the limit again to 6 nautical miles from the coast.

We join the call of the fishermen and ask our governments to press Israel to stop attacking and arresting Palestinian fishermen and to allow them to fish freely.

Updated on July 7, 2013

For who does not understand the need or concept of resistance of Palestine, recommended read:

The History of Resistance – The Eagle of Palestine


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Martyred By Israeli Occupation Attacks

انّا للہ و انّا الیه راجعون

May Allah Subhana wa Ta’ ala grant the Shuhada Jannatul Firdaus, and ease it for their families, loved ones and anyone around them. Allahumma Ameen ya Rabbil Alameen. ‘ Inna Lillahi wa ‘ Inna ‘ Ilayhi Raji’un, Allahu Akbar


* The list of shuhada does not display, the numerous victims of the zionist occupation which are undocumented by media. Nor it displays the victims of the “silent onslaught” due to restrictions of movement, ability to go to hospitals for treatment or life saving surgery, due to lack of medication because of the blockades and so on. For example: The Slow Motion Genocide by the Siege on Gaza only, killed 600 patients since Gaza got under Israeli Siege.

For an overview of All Israeli Massacres Palestinians go here

Neither does this list, display the avoidable mortality. A clear and statistical factual evidence, about the number of deaths due to indecent ruling by occupation forces. For even an occupier has obligations under International Laws, Geneva Convention and the Hague regulations, which it is neglecting. These circumstances, together with deliberate policies of the occupier to neglect and even deny every basic human right, severes avoidable mortality which is totally silenced by media or reporting organisations. While in the Holocaust, 1 on 6 Jewish people directly died of deliberate neglect, so if we believe the facts over 1 million due to avoidable mortality, neither should these same circumstances be ignores which are ongoing in Palestine. For this report displays a avoidable morality of at least 0,5 million Palestinians.

How many more dead corpses of Palestinians does the international community need to see in order to act? How many more cruelties and violations of Human Rights, Regulations and International Law will be needed to intervene so this ongoing warcrime is being stopped once and for all.

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