Gaza Fishing Boats Accompanied by Human Rights Workers Return Safely

Gaza Fishing Boats Accompanied by Human Rights Workers Return Safely

by Vittorio Arrigoni

We in the Free Gaza Movement would like to thank everyone who took the
time to contact the media, our embassies in Tel Aviv, and the Israeli
government. Your voices did make some difference. All of the fishing boats
that were accompanied by international human rights workers today were
able to finish fishing and return safely to shore. The Jerusalem Post was
one of the few media outlets that covered the attack. You can read their
article at:

Tragically, other Palestinian fishermen were not so lucky. According to a
report from the International Middle East Media Center, two fishermen
several miles to the north were hit by Israeli weapons fire. Mohammad Ani
Assultan, age 19, was wounded, and Hussam Assultan, age 32, was hit in the
head. He is said to be in critical condition. For more information see:

It is vitally important that we continue to shine a light on Israeli human
rights abuses in Gaza and the West Bank, and continue to pressure the
international community to take action so as to prevent tragedies such as
the one that occurred today.

International human rights workers from the Free Gaza Movement and the
International Solidarity Movement will remain in Gaza, and we will
continue to shine that light. Below are the personal accounts of two of
these brave activists.

Israeli Warships Fire on Unarmed Palestinian Fishermen, by Vittorio Arrigoni:
“When at a distance, estimated by our fishing boat’s captain, of 7
nautical miles from the coast, we dropped our fishing nets and started
fishing the Israeli warships rushed to reach our position.

“One of the warships positioned at a distance less than 200 meters
alongside of our fishing boat, opened fire in our direction at least 4
times during the day. It was intimidating fire directed into the water,
but some bursts almost touched the hull of our boat. A cannon shot almost
reached us. Making attempt of obtaining a radio contact was useless.
Soldiers on the Israeli warship ordered, with the use of megaphones, the
area evacuation. And after that they were shooting. Sometimes they were
shooting before having ordered. Once they shooted to our fishing nets and
tried to damaged it sailing directly on them.

“Unfortunately our big mistake was not having with us neither cameras nor
video cameras that, together with megaphones to be used exactly like they
do, I consider essential for our next fishing missions.

“Despite these intimidations the fishing was rich and profitable, we
brought ashore quantity of fish ten times bigger than the usual
Palestinians fishers standard.”

1 September 2008
Vittorio Arrigoni, Free Gaza Movement