B’Tselem’s investigation indicates that the soldiers who fired at the fishing boat and killed Muhammad Baker acted without justification. The boat was within the zone where the military permits fishing and, in any case, did not pose a threat to the force. Shooting at Palestinians sailing at sea to make a living is unjustified and unlawful, yet the Israeli military does so as a matter of routine off the coast of Gaza.
This is compounded by the numerous restrictions that Israel imposes on the fishing sector in Gaza – limiting the permitted fishing zone, prohibiting the import of vital materials, arrests, and restricting the export and marketing of fish. The result is that fishing has been virtually eliminated as a sector in the Gazan economy.
According to statistics forwarded to B’Tselem by the Fishing Department in the Ministry of Agriculture in Gaza, in 2016 the Israeli navy military arrested 113 fishermen, shot and injured 10 fishermen, and confiscated 38 motorized flatboard boats and eight boats without motors. That year, direct damage caused by confiscating or shooting at fishing boats and equipment amounted to approximately half a million dollars.”