Thursday, April 28, 2011

PCHR weekly report 21/4 -27/4/2011: attack off al Waha resort

extracts from PCHR weekly report 21/4 -27/4/2011:

IOF continued to target Palestinian workers, farmers and fishermen in border areas in the Gaza Strip
-IOF fired at Palestinian fishermen at sea and no casualties were reported.
Saturday, 23 April 2011

At approximately 03:00, IOF gunboats positioned off al-Waha resort in the west of Beit Lahia town in the northern Gaza Strip, fired shells and opened intensive fire at Palestinian fishing boats. They also fired flash bombs. Palestinian fishermen escaped as a result in fear of being wounded or arrested. No casualties or damages to property were reported.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

PCHR weekly report 14/4 - 20/4/2011: attack off al Waha resort

extracts from PCHR weekly report 14/4 - 20/4/2011:

IOF continued to target Palestinian workers, farmers and fishermen in border areas in the Gaza Strip - IOF opened fire at Palestinian farmers and fishermen in the northern Gaza Strip, but no casualties were reported.

Saturday, 16 April 2011

At approximately 20:00, IOF gunboats positioned off al-Waha resort in the west of Beit Lahia, northern the Gaza Strip, fired shells and opened intensive fire at Palestinian fishing boats. They also fired flash bombs. Palestinian fishermen escaped as a result in fear of being wounded or arrested. No casualties or damages in Palestinian fishing boats were reported. 

European activists launch boat to monitor Israeli violations in Gaza waters

[ 21/04/2011 - 07:52 AM ]

GAZA, (PIC)-- European activists from Civil Peace Service Gaza (CPSGAZA) launched Wednesday a boat named Oliva designed to monitor Israeli human rights violations on Palestinian waters off the Gaza Strip.
The move also comes to commemorate the life of slain Italian peace activist Vittorio Arrigoni, one of the dozens of parties that supported the boat.
The mission was launched after Israel reduced the fishing space in the sea from twenty nautical miles, as agreed upon in the Oslo Accords, to just three. Gaza fishermen have therefore become threatened by frequent Israeli fire and boat confiscation. Many of them have been arrested and suffered poverty because of the reduction of fishing space.
The launch of the monitoring boat was announced at the opening of the sixth Bil'in conference in Ramallah by its organizers during a video conference.
It includes activists from Spain, the US, Italy, and Belgium as well as Gaza fisherman. Their mission is to document human rights violations by gathering information and taking video footage to be handed over to the media.
Arrigoni, who was recently slain by a deviant religious group in the Gaza Strip, was one of the parties that supported the project. He also helped choose the name Oliva, expressing his desire not to name it after one of the Gaza martyrs. The name is Italian for ”olive”.
According to statistics from the Red Cross, 90 per cent of Gaza's 4,000 fishermen are poor with an average monthly income of $100-190 or live below the poverty line, earning less than $100 a month. The average was at 50 per cent in 2008 but rose dramatically in the last three years.

Activists restart work after Gaza murder


GAZA CITY (AFP) -- Members of the pro-Palestinian International Solidarity Movement resumed their activities in Gaza on Wednesday, days after the murder of an activist from the group.

Five members of the organisation gathered at a dock in Gaza City to restart work monitoring Israeli treatment of Palestinian fishermen seeking to ply their trade on a small strip of ocean off the coast of Gaza.

Such monitoring was done frequently by Vittorio Arrigoni, an Italian member of ISM who was found hanged last Friday, hours after his kidnap by a radical Islamist Salafist group.

The activists, from Belgium, Italy and the United States, were joined by around 200 Palestinians for the ceremony, and observed a minute of silence in Arrigoni's memory.

Flowers were also sprinkled over five boats preparing to take part in the monitoring activity, as people waved the Palestinian flag.

Inge Neefs, a member of ISM, said the activity had been Arrigoni's favorite way to demonstrate solidarity with the Palestinians.

"The idea is to have a human rights monitoring boat out in Palestinian water to document potential human rights violations at sea," she told AFP.

In the West Bank, meanwhile, caretaker prime minister Salam Fayyad mourned Arrigoni's death at a conference honoring non-violent protest against Israel's separation barrier in the village of Bilin.

"Killing Arrigoni was a hurtful blow to us and all international volunteers, but this huge participation today assures us that the International Solidarity Movement is still strong," he said.

"Despite what happened, international solidarity with us continues," he added, noting the presence of dozens of foreign representatives at the conference.

Arrigoni, 36, was a long-time member of the International Solidarity Movement and had been living and working in the Gaza Strip for much of the past three years.

A previously unknown radical group claimed responsibility for his kidnapping in a video that was posted online and showed Arrigoni, his face bruised and bloodied and his hands bound behind his back.

The group demanded the release of Salafist prisoners, including a senior Salafi leader, and threatened to kill Arrigoni within 30 hours if their demands were not met.

Hamas security forces found his body shortly afterwards, ahead of the stated deadline, in an abandoned house in northern Gaza.

Security forces in Gaza have so far arrested three suspects in the case. Another two were killed during a Tuesday raid in central Gaza.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Launch of international boat to monitor human rights in Palestinian waters

17 April 2010 | Civil Peace Service Gaza

Civil Peace Service Gaza

Civil Peace Service Gaza
On Wednesday April 20th, the “Oliva”, a human rights monitoring boat with an international crew, will launch from the port of Gaza City. The crew of the Civil Peace Service, which currently consists of citizens from Spain, the United States, Italy and Belgium, will accompany Gazan fishermen within Palestinian waters. Violations of international law will be monitored and documented. Data and video materials will be collected and disseminated.
Vittorio Arrigoni, the murdered human rights activist, was involved in setting up this project and therefore a commemoration will be held at the end of the press conference. As Vik was involved in choosing the name of the boat and expressed his desire for it not to be named after an individual, the boat will be going by the name Oliva, which he supported, but the mission will carry on in his spirit.
The launch of Oliva, an 8-meter long white motor boat, will inaugurate the Civil Peace Services mission in Palestinian waters. Since Operation Cast Lead, access to fishing grounds has been unilaterally restricted by Israel to 3 nautical miles. This dramatic reduction of the 20-mile limit which was agreed upon in the Oslo Accords has resulted in the over-exploitation of fishing grounds in which stocks are close to exhaustion. Fishermen are threatened by gunfire, confiscation of their boats and fishing tools and arrest by the Israeli Navy which regularly launches attacks and incursions in Palestinian waters.
According to the International Committee of the Red Cross, nearly 90% of Gaza’s 4000 fishermen are now considered either poor (with a monthly income of between 100 and 190 US dollars) or very poor (earning less than 100 dollars a month), up from 50% in 2008.
The launching of the Oliva is a response to this situation of extreme vulnerability. A wide range of international organizations are supporting this initiative which comes in cooperation with local organizations, such as the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, the Popular Struggle Coordination Committees, the Union of Agriculture Committees and Fishing and Marine Sports Association.
Media information:
  • Audio-visual and graphics materials are available.
  • Interested media can board the Oliva.

A Civil Peace Service for Palestinian waters: Press File

The Gaza Strip: General Overview
Steadily deteriorating since the beginning of the Israeli occupation in 1967, the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip has worsened dramatically in the last decade. From the launch of the Second Intifada in 2000 to the current escalation of violence, Israeli policies have done nothing but keep 1.6 million people-over half of them children-condemned to a situation of extreme vulnerability.
The deceptive disengagement plan-unilaterally approved by Israel and enacted in 2005-did not result in an effective easing of Israel’s control over fundamental aspects of the lives of Palestinian in Gaza such as their access to farming land and fishing stocks and their right to move freely within and out of the Strip’s territory. In 2007, following Hamas’ victory in the 2006 legislative elections, Israel imposed an unprecedented land, air and sea blockade, which turned the area into an open air prison.
On 27 December 2008, without warning, Israeli forces began a devastating bombing campaign on the Gaza Strip codenamed Operation Cast Lead. According to figures cited by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), 1,440 Palestinians were killed over a three week period, including 431 children and 114 women. A further 5,380 Palestinians were injured[1]. For almost a month, the population of Gaza was subjected to incessant bombing raids by the Israeli forces. These attacks targeted not only military assets but also civilian infrastructures and densely populated areas in a clear case of collective punishment in flagrant violation of the Geneva Conventions. The war further compromised the already precarious situation of Gaza residents. The destruction of livelihoods, key medical and educational facilitates, and private property left the Gaza Strip in an utterly desperate situation which, due to the extreme restrictions still imposed by Israel, has not been overcome.
After the deadly and illegal attack on the Freedom Flotilla, Israel announced in June 2010 a package of measures aimed at “easeing” access restrictions. However, as stated in OCHA’s latest Special Focus report, these measures have not resulted in significant improvements in people’s livelihoods due to the pivotal remaining restrictions[2]. Six months after the measures were announced, inflow of building materials was at only 11% of pre-blockade. The minimal increase in food imports has been further compromised by the global rise in food prices. As of February 2011, according to OCHA’s projections in its February Humanitarian Monitor, close to 54% of Gaza’s households are food insecure and, according to UNRWA, unemployment rate has reached a staggering 45.5%[3].
The Sea of Gaza: fishermen’s endangered livelihood
Israeli control over Gaza’s crucial resources has also been imposed on the sea. Palestinian territorial waters have been progressively reduced from the 20 nm offshore established in the Oslo Accords to the current 3 nm limit, imposed by gunfire from the Israeli Navy. This limit has further exacerbated the hardships imposed upon Gaza’s fishing industry, which sustained 4000 families at the end of 2010[4].
In Gaza, the majority of profits from fishing have traditionally come from sardines. However, as schools of sardine pass beyond the 3 nm mark, catches are down by 72%[5]. Considering that adult fish are mostly found beyond the 3 nm limit, fishing within the current zone is less profitable and, most importantly, depletes new generations of fish, thus threatening the future sustainability of the already overexploited stocks. Further endangering the marine environment and the fishermen’s livelihoods, the power supply interruptions, the acute shortage of fuel and the lack of spare parts caused by the Israeli siege have impeded the proper operation of Gaza’s sewage treatment plants, which daily pump large quantities of raw sewage water off the Gaza shore.
According to Gaza-based Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, due to this deterioration, poverty among fishermen was the highest of all population groups in Gaza at the end of 2010, when it was estimated at 90%; up from 50% in 2008[6].
Israeli attacks on Palestinian Waters
Besides having to rely on increasingly decimated captures, fishermen are constantly threatened by Israeli military forces deployed in Palestinian territorial waters. According to Al Mezan’s report on the subject, between May 2009 and November 2010,the IOF carried out 53 attacks against fishermen. As a result, two fishermen were killed and up to seven were injured; 42 fishermen, including two children, were arrested and 17 fishing boats, together with fishing equipment and nets were confiscated and destroyed.
These Israeli attacks aim at restricting the access of Palestinian fishermen to their areas of work. According to Oxfam, in practice, access is sometimes restricted by Israeli military forces to as little as one nautical mile, banning access to around 85% of Gaza’s fishing water[7]. Attacks on fishermen are yet another example of the widespread violations of international law perpetrated by Israel in the Gaza Strip. Israeli attacks violate Palestinian fishermen’s right to life, security, and personal safety. The targeting of fishermen, and their property, including seaports, boats, and fishing equipment, constitutes serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law. Israeli forces periodically escalate their attacks: as stated by OCHA in a recent weekly report, Israeli naval forces opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats in six separate occasions between March 16 and 29 alone.[8]
  1. UN OCHA, Field Update on Gaza from the Humanitarian Coordinator: 3-5 February 2009 (pdf)
  2. UN OCHA, “Special Focus: Easing the Blockade, Assessing the Humanitarian Impact on the population of the Gaza Strip”, March 2011 (pdf)
  3. UN OCHA, Monthly Humanitarian Monitor, February 2011 (pdf); UNWRA’s representative statement, February 2011 (link)
  4. Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, “Fact Sheet:Gaza Fishermen: Life with Poverty, Harassment and Suffering”, November 2010 (pdf)
  5. UN OCHA, “Fact sheet:Farming without Land, Fishing without Water: Gaza Agriculture Sector Struggles to Survive”, May 2010 (pdf)
  6. Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, “Fact Sheet:Gaza Fishermen: Life with Poverty, Harassment and Suffering”, November 2010 (pdf)
  7. Oxfam, weekly update, 30 January- 5 February 2011 (pdf)
  8. UN OCHA, “Protection of civilians weekly report 16-29 March 2011″ (pdf)
Updated on April 17, 2011

Gaza activists announce rights monitoring boat

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Activists in Gaza announced Sunday the upcoming launch of a rights monitoring boat for the Gaza shore, to be christened "Oliva," following the wish of slain Italian activist Vittorio Arrigoni, a statement said.

With the maiden voyage of the 8-meter skiff set for Wednesday, the group of activists said nationals from Spain, the United States, Italy and Belgium, will soon accompany Gazan fishermen within Palestinian waters, documenting violations of international law.

"The mission will carry on in his spirit," the group said of the project, in reference to Arrigoni, an Italian activist who was abducted and found hanged on Friday, apparently by a splinter group of Salafists in the Gaza Strip.

Activists will document instances of fire from Israeli warships paroling Gaza's Mediterranean shore, and enforcing a 3-mile fishing limit. Fishermen have in the past been injured by the fire, had boats confiscated and faced periods of detention for allegedly deviating from the unilaterally-imposed limit.

Organizers said there was tremendous local support for the initiative, including from the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, the Popular Struggle Coordination Committees, the Union of Agriculture Committees and Fishing and Marine Sports Association.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Israeli navy gunboats fire at Palestinian fishing boats

[ 16/04/2011 - 04:45 PM ]

GAZA, (PIC)-- Israeli navy gunboats opened heavy machinegun fire at Palestinian fishing boats off the coast of Gaza city on Saturday evening, local sources reported.
They said that no casualties were suffered as a result of the shooting, which is repeated practiced by those gunboats.
Israeli warplanes blasted two targets for the Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, in Gaza city at dawn Saturday for the first time since an undeclared, reciprocal calm was reached between Israeli army and Palestinian resistance in Gaza almost a week ago.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

ISM confirms the death of Vittorio Arrigoni

The International Solidarity Movement is shocked and deeply saddened by the killing of our friend and colleague Vittorio Arrigoni. Vik was an inspiring activist and generous soul. Please keep his family and friends in your thoughts.
We will post more information here as it becomes available.

Palestinians call for release of Italian activist kidnapped in Gaza

For Immediate Release
[April 14, 2001] Today, our friend and colleague, Vittorio Arrigoni, a journalist and human rights defender working in the Gaza Strip, was kidnapped by Salafists, members of a very small extremist group in Gaza.

Vittorio Arrigoni
Vittorio has been active in the Palestine cause for almost 10 years. For the past two and a half years, he has been in Gaza with the International Solidarity Movement, monitoring human rights violations by Israel, supporting the Palestinian popular resistance against the Israeli occupation and disseminating information about the situation in Gaza to his home country of Italy. He was aboard the siege-breaking voyage in 2008 with the Free Gaza Movement and was incarcerated in Israeli prisons several times. He was in Gaza throughout Israel’s brutal assault (Operation Cast Lead), assisting medics and reporting to the world what Israel was doing to the Palestinian people. He has been arrested numerous times by Israeli forces for his participation in Palestinian non-violent resistance in the West Bank and Gaza. His last arrest and deportation from the area was a result of the Israeli confiscation of Palestinian fishing vessels in Gazan territorial waters.

Vittorio frequently writes on the issue of Palestine for the Italian newspaper, IL Manifesto and Peacereporter. Additionally, he maintains a popular blog ( and facebook page (
Khalil Shaheen, a friend of Vittorio and Head of the Economic and Social Rights Department at the Palestinian Center for Human Rights said, “This is outside of our traditions. We are calling for the immediate release of my best friend. Vittorio Arrigoni is a hero of Palestine. He was available everywhere to support all the poor people, the victims. I’m calling on the local authorities here in Gaza, and all security departments, to do their best to guarantee his safety and immediate release.”
Vittorio was granted honorary citizenship for his work on promoting the cause of the Palestinian people. Members of Gazan civil society are demanding his release; tomorrow at 4:00pm there will be a mass demonstration in Jundi Square.
Updated on April 14, 2011

PCHR weekly report 7/4 - 13/4/2011: attack on shore, flash bombs at fishermen

extracts from PCHR weekly report 7/4 - 13/4/2011:

[Saturday, 09 April 2011]

 · At approximately 01:40 on the same day, IOF gunboats opened fire at the beach in Gaza City. No casualties were reported.

[Friday, 08 April 2011]

 · At approximately 20:30 on the same day, IOF gunboats opened flash bombs at Palestinian fishermen in Nussairat refugee camp and al-Zahraa' town. No casualties were reported.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Israeli gunboats fire at Palestinian fishing boats

[ 10/04/2011 - 07:54 PM ]

GAZA, (PIC)-- Israeli navy gunboats fired at Palestinian fishing boats off the coasts of the Gaza Strip and chased them to the beach on Sunday evening, local sources reported.
Security sources told the PIC reporter that the Israeli gunboats opened their machineguns at the Palestinian boats while fishing in the area allowed for them, but noted that no casualties were reported.
Israeli reconnaissance planes did not stop flying over the coastal enclave while warplanes and army choppers appear every now and then in the skies.