On Wednesday, an IDF patrol boat was called to respond to a fishing boat from Gaza that sailed beyond the permitted limits. The fishing boat attempted to flee but rammed the center of the IDF vessel with its bowl, damaging it. During the incident, the IDF troops were ordered not to open fire.
A report of the incident on Channel 20 News cited a source as claiming that the collision was accidental but anonymous statements by the soldiers refuted that, claiming that it was clear the Gazan vessel intentionally rammed them.
An IDF spokesman responded: “Yesterday afternoon, a Palestinian vessel exceeded the limits of the permitted fishing space. As part of the ongoing security mission and border enforcement, the navy fighters acted while using the necessary measures to deal with the incident.”
“During the operation, the fishing boat made a sharp maneuver in an attempt to evade the IDF vessel ship and hit it. Following the activity of the soldiers, the fishing vessel returned to the area allowed for fishing and the IDF naval vessel continued its mission, without any casualties.”
MK Orit Strook responded to the incident: “The rules of engagement regulations pertaining to opening fire on the Gaza border, including the maritime border, must be amended. “The IDF must adhere to the principle it has set for itself, to be the moral army in the world. An army that prefers the life of the enemy over the lives of its soldiers is not a moral army.”
Israel Katz of the Likud party said: “This incident is very serious and in particular with regard to the directive not to open fire on the boat. This is an erosion of Israel’s deterrent power against the terrorist organizations in Gaza. Terrorist organizations have gained momentum and I have no doubt that they recognize weakness.”
“They allow themselves to shoot, to strike with the clear knowledge that our forces will not return fire and that these rules of engagement restrict our soldiers from operating. It is our weak government that will not act for fear that [Mansour] Abbas and his friends will dismantle the coalition.”
MK Itamar Ben Gvir posted a response on his Facebook page:
“0 intimidation, 0 governance, 0 submission by terrorism. That’s how it is when the government depends on the Muslim Brotherhood and the Surah Council. Government of zeros.”
It is interesting to note that Palestinian media reported a different version of the event:
“The Israeli occupation [SIC] Navy fired on Wednesday morning by heavy gun machine at fishermen’s boats off the coast of different areas in the Gaza Strip according to local sources,” the Gaza Post reported. “Local sources stated that the Israeli navy used shells to target fishermen at the coast of Al-Sudaniya region, northwest of the Gaza Strip.”
“Meanwhile, the occupation soldiers opened fire in other areas of Gaza coasts but no injuries were reported.,” the report concluded.