The Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights has reported, Sunday, that the Israeli navy has carried out at least 17 attacks against Gaza fishers, since the beginning of this year, and kidnapped 65 fishers.

Al-Mezan said that the navy has escalated its violations against the fishers in the coastal region, despite Israel’s claims of allowing them to fish within 9 nautical miles in the central and southern areas of the Gaza Strip, starting on April 3rd.

The attacks range between the use of live fire, the abduction of fishers, and the confiscation of boats and fishing tools. Israel is also still banning the entry of fiberglass and other materials that are essential for building and maintaining boats, due to its illegal siege on Gaza since 2007.

Al-Mezan strongly denounced the ongoing Israeli violations against the fishers in Gaza territorial waters, and its illegal policies of collective punishment against dozens of thousands of fishers, and their families, denying them from their only source of livelihood.

It said that the vast majority of fisher families in Gaza are below the poverty line in the Gaza Strip due to Israel’s siege, and its ongoing attacks against the fishers and their boats.

The Center also said that the way Israel deals with the fishers is nothing short of attempting to terrorize them, especially by subjecting them to degrading and harsh treatment after abducting them, and confiscating their boats, and the threats against them.

In addition, al-Mezan said that, in most cases, the fishers are released just hours after their arrest, as the Navy has no legal course to abduct them, therefore, cannot send them to court, even though the courts themselves are part of this illegal occupation.

“The fishers have the right to fish and work in Palestinian territorial waters in Gaza; this is a basic Human Right,” al-Mezan said, “What the army and the navy are doing are assaults that come in direct violations of the basic principles of International Law, and International Human Rights Law.”

It renewed its call to the International Community to perform its moral and legal duties, and effectively act on ending the illegal Israeli siege on Gaza, as it constitutes an ongoing war crime.