The Ministry of Agriculture in the Gaza Strip reported on Sunday, 29 April, that the Israeli navy had arrested five fishermen aboard a small boat as they fished off the coast of Gaza. Both the fishermen and their boat were taken to the Israeli port of Ashdod.
Four of the fishermen were brothers; Amjad, Ashraf, Bilal, and Ahmed al-Sharafi, while the fifth was their cousin, Yasir Jamal al-Sharafi. The Ministry confirmed that incidences of abuse, arrest and prosecution of fishermen for plying their trade had increased recently.
A statement from the Ministry pointed out that; "The area of sea permitted for [Palestinian] fishermen to fish in by the occupation is no more than three miles wide".
The Ministry placed full responsibility for the lives and safety of the fishermen on the Israeli occupation. It called on human rights organisations, particularly the International Committee of the Red Cross, to urgently intervene to secure their release, along with their equipment. It also stressed the need to pressure Israel to extend the coastal area permitted to the fishermen to at least six miles, so as to allow them to make a living without interference from the occupation
MEMO Photographer: Mohammed Asad