Window to Palestine.blogspot.com – 2008-11-27 22:57:01
American Woman from San Jose, CA, among 18 Abducted at Gunpoint in Gaza
Window to Palestine.blogspot.com
(November 22, 2008) — Darlene Wallach, a human rights observer from San Jose, California, is among eighteen persons abducted off the coast of Gaza on November 18, 2008. The others are fellow human rights observers Andrew Muncie of Scotland and Vittorio Arrigoni of Italy, as well as fifteen Palestinian fishermen. All eighteen were fishing in Gaza waters in zones authorized for Palestinian fisherman by the Oslo agreements of 1993 and 1994. They were abducted at gunpoint by Israeli frogmen and taken to Israel, along with the fishing boats.
The fishermen were released and returned to Gaza, although their boats, which are their means of livelihood, are still being held. Israel is charging the three human rights observers with illegally entering Israel, and is making arrangements to deport them to their home countries.
The observers counter that they were forcibly taken to Israel and should be returned to Gaza. “We were never in Israel, and all of us were taken against our will and contrary to all agreements that Israel has signed,” says Wallach, 57, who was also arrested and deported from Israel in 2002 for participating in human rights advocacy in the Israeli occupied Palestinian West Bank region. “Israel claims that it no longer occupies Gaza, so what is it doing in Gaza waters, especially when there is no security threat at all?”
On August 23, 2008, Wallach, Muncie and Arrigoni were among 44 participants in the Free Gaza Movement who were aboard the first boats in forty-one years to enter Gaza by sea, breaking the Israeli blockade. They remained in Gaza to participate in human rights activities with the International Solidarity Movement. They are conducting a hunger strike in prison until Israel meets their demands to return them to Gaza and release the fishing boats.
Further information is available at www.freegaza.org and www.palsolidarity.org. Wallach, Muncie and Arrigoni can sometimes by reached by telephone in prison for press interviews. Interested parties are invited to contact the persons listed in this message.
CONTACT: Caoimhe (Gaza) + 972 598 273 960
Donna (Gaza) + 972 598 836 420
Fida (Gaza – Arabic) – + 972 599 681 669
ISM Media Office – + 972 2-2971824
Paul (USA) +1 510-236-5338
ACTION ALERT: Kidnapped by the Israeli Navy
(November 18, 2008) — Fourteen Palestinian fishermen along with three internationals have been kidnapped out of Palestinian waters by the Israeli Navy. They were fishing seven miles off the coast of Deir Al Balla, clearly in Gaza fishing waters.
The three internationals are Andrew Muncie from Scotland, Darlene Wallach from the United States and Victor Arrigoni from Italy. The UK, US and Italian embassies in Tel Aviv have been contacted and know about the abductions.
Please call the Israeli Ministry of Justice at +972 26 46 66 66 and register your outrage over these illegal actions by the Israeli Military
• Greta Berlin, Media Team, Free Gaza Movement
357 99 08 17 67. www.freegaza.org
Caoimhe Butterly + 972 598 273 960
Donna Wallach + 972 598 836 420
Ramzi Kysia, U.K. +44 75 191 33 097
Human rights groups file appeal against Ehud Barak over the confiscation of Palestinian fishing boats
Press Releases, Gaza Region / International Solidarity Movement
RAMALLAH, Occupied West Bank (November 27th, 2008 ) — On November 25, 2008, Al-Mazan, the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) and the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) have filed a legal appeal against Ehud Barak and the commander of the Israeli Navy. The appeal was launched over Israel’s illegal confiscation of three large fishing boats from Palestinian territorial waters on the 18th November.
This appeal has been sent to the supreme court asking why the boats have not been released and why the fishermen have not been compensated for their loss of income and their loss of use of the boats for the past week.
The boats were abducted 7 1/2 miles from the port of Deir al-Balah, so they were well within Zone L, which, under the Oslo agreement, gives them the right to be fishing within their own 20 nautical mile limit. Israel’s actions raises serious doubts about their claim that Gaza is no longer occupied.
The action against Barak and the Israeli Navy is based, in part, on the The Hague convention, “Family honor and rights, the lives of persons, and private property, as well as religious convictions and practice, must be respected. Private property can not be confiscated.”
Israel Attempts to Avoid Court Challenge by Returning Stolen Palestinian Fishing Boats
Press Releases, Gaza Region / International Solidarity Movement
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip, Palestine (November 27, 2008) — Three Palestinian trawling vessels confiscated by Israeli naval forces were returned today almost immediately following yesterdays announcement that three Human Rights Groups had filed an appeal against Ehud Barak and the commander of the Israeli navy. The vessels were stolen from Gazan waters on 18th November while fishing in Palestinian territorial water.
Filed yesterday by Al-Mazan, the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) and the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), the appeal to the Israeli Supreme Court was on behalf of the vessels’ owners. The appeal, sent to the Israeli Supreme Court, asked why the boats have not been released and why the fishermen have not been compensated for their loss of income and their loss of use of the boats for the past week.
Rather than answer these questions in court, raising serious contradictions to the Israeli claim that Gaza is no longer occupied, Israel’s navy informed the lawyers that the boats would probably be returned immediately. Less than 24 hours later the boats were returned, though initial reports suggest that they had sustained serious damage and that expensive equipment has been stolen.
“While the return of 1/4 of Gaza’s trawling fleet after they were stolen by the Israeli navy is a relief to Gaza’s fishermen, the fact that it only took the threat of court action in their own legal system for the boats return demonstrates how baseless Israel’s claim of not occupying Gaza is” said Fida Qishta, local human rights activist from Rafah and ISM co-ordinator in the Gaza Strip.
Held in Ashdod, the fishing boats were transferred into Palestinian waters six nautical miles offshore at approximately 16:00 Gaza time and reached the port of Gaza City shortly before 18:00.
There are only 12 boats of this size in the Gaza Strip, so the confiscation represented one quarter of such boats available to the Gazan population.The boats were abducted 7 1/2 miles from the port of Deir al-Balah, well within ‘Zone L’, which, under the Oslo agreement, gives them the right to be fishing within their own 20 nautical mile limit.
The boats’ captains reported damage to their vessels’ – indeed one trawler had to be towed in by a second due to engine damage. Equipment such as GPS devices were also missing. The fishermens’ loss of earnings over the last ten days is still being estimated.
The three human rights observers from the International Solidarity Movement who were accompanying the fishermen at the time of the Israeli assault were held at Maasiyahu detention centre in Ramle, despite never being charged. All have now been illegally deported by the Israeli authorities. Vittorio Arrigoni was deported to Italy on Sunday 23rd November, Andrew Muncie to the UK on Tuesday 25th and Darlene Wallach to the US early on Thursday 27th November.
Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.