Palestinian fishermen come to aid of shipwrecked Chinese sailor
A man claiming to be from China was found washed up and unconscious along with a battered boat on Tuesday on the shores of a Palestinian-majority village in Israel.
Fishermen from impoverished Jisr al-Zarqa, the only Palestinian Arab coastal village left in Israel which lies about 40 kilometres south from the city of Haifa, spotted the man on the shore.
They gave the man food and drink and asked him how he had managed to arrive in their harbour.
The man responded in English, saying “I’m a Chinese citizen and I just found myself here.”
The fishermen then called the police who arrived and took the man in for questioning.
According to Israeli daily Ynet, the man told the police he had set sail from Greece, which he was visiting as a tourist, and was blown off course by strong winds.
His case was then handed over to the Israeli Administration of Border Crossings, Population and Immigration.
A member of Jisr al-Zarqa’s local council told Ynet of the villagers’ astonishment at finding the man, who has yet to be named, on their shores.
“We were surprised to find a foreign national on the beach, a man with an East Asian appearance, who was lying near his boat passed out,” said Sami Ali.
“I approached the boat and saw it [was] damaged,” Ali continued. “The sail was broken and the hull also suffered damage. Inside the boat was a large quantity of food and water.”
One of the fisherman who found the man said that he didn’t expect anyone to reach Israel from the sea because of increased security.
“It’s hard to believe that anyone who illegally crosses the border gets to live,” the fisherman said. “This Chinese man is lucky. We’re happy he’s fit and healthy and hope he returns to his family soon.”
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