In an unprecedented ruling since the beginning of the current Intifada, the compensation department of the Israeli Ministry of Defense ruled to award two Palestinians from Deir al-Balah - represented by PCHR – NIS 245,000 (approximately US$10,200) in compensation for the loss of their boat that was destroyed by Israeli occupying forces on 18 January 2002.
On 18 January 2002, Israeli occupying forces arrested Mohammed Emtair Khalil Nassar, 56, and Barham Mohammed al-Qara’an, 41, while they were fishing off the coast of Deir al-Balah in the Gaza Strip and towed their boat to the Israeli controlled Ashdod Harbor. PCHR represented Nassar and al- Qara’an and on 24 January 2002, the Israeli military court in Erez ordered the release of the two Palestinians and their boat. However, while the two men were eventually released, the boat was not handed over and PCHR submitted a number of injunctions to petition the court to hand over the boat to its owners.
On 5 September 2002, PCHR received a response from the Israeli military legal advisor who stated that the boat had sunk while in Israeli possession. As a result, the case was then transferred to the compensation department of the Israeli Ministry of Defense. PCHR continued to follow up the case in cooperation with the Israel-based Hamoked Center for the Defense of the Individual. PCHR is now working on completing the necessary legal procedures which will result in Nassar and al- Qara’an receiving approximately NIS 45,000 (US$10,200) in compensation.
Since the outbreak of al-Aqsa Intifada in September 2000, Israeli occupying forces have escalated attacks on Palestinian civilians and their property. In particular, Israeli occupying forces have attacked Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip and imposed severe restrictions on their work. PCHR will continue its efforts to ensure that Palestinian civilians receive the appropriate compensation for losses incurred by the actions of Israeli occupying forces in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.