“I am writing this exactly twelve hours after I was attacked by an Israeli warship, off the Gaza coast.
As a member of the Civil Peace Service, I board the Oliva boat around twice a week to monitor Gazan fishermen’s human rights. But today, it wasn’t just the fishermen who were targeted.
We approached a cluster of hasaka fishing boats that were being attacked with water cannons at midday on July 13. As we got closer all I could focus on was the officer manning the machine gun, covered from head to toe with black, which struck me as very medieval, if you know what I mean.
Our boat, along with the fishing vessels, was around two miles out to sea, well within the three-mile fishing limit imposed by Israel. We saw marines congregate on deck to watch as the water cannon was angled slowly but deliberately towards us. To my delight they struggled against the wind initially, but eventually managed to angle round us as we fumbled with the water-logged engine. I took one look at the jet being generated vertically and knew what was coming. Sure enough, pellets of water began to rain down on us with stinging force. Then I, camera in one hand, felt the jet stream slap my face directly, staying there for several seconds, before the boat was yanked away by the fishermen around us. I was flung backwards and words I never utter escaped my lips. Struggling to stay up, I forced myself to take it on the chin. Literally. As the assault continued, they repeatedly aimed at my face and each time my nose, eyes and mouth filled with seawater. At one point I even saw a naval officer indicate to the marine controlling the cannon to aim for me. He gleefully obliged…”
–Hama Waqum, Civil Peace Service Gaza, 14 July, 2011