Report: Gaza Aid Flotilla Attacked By Israeli Special Forces, 14 to 19 Killed Over 60 Wounded; Multiple Articles and Videos

Video of Commandos Rappelling Onto Ship/Being Beaten http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2010/05/31/close-up_footage_of_flotilla_passengers_attacking_israeli_soldiers.html

Longer Version of Raid From Vessel – http://www.youtube.com/verify_age?next_url=http%3A//www.youtube.com/watch%3Fv%3Ddhgt7KY1iQs%26feature%3Dplayer_embedded

Impromptu Al Jazeera Report From Vessel Shortly After Raid – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y6lBedrCTTk

Report: Gaza Aid Flotilla Attacked By Israeli Military

By Tar De Moutonnoir.
 
It is being reported that at least 10 have been killed Israeli forces opened fire on an international humanitarian aid flotilla attempting to break the siege on Gaza. The confrontation attracted widespread international condemnation of Israel.
Several media sources say the flotilla of aid ships was intercepted and hemmed in by Israel warships as they attempted to reach the shores of the Gaza Strip. At least one of the ships was then boarded and fired upon causing 10 fatalities and injuring between 30 and 50 others. The names and nationalities of the casualties are unknown but the ships are carrying hundreds of pro-Palestinian activists from around the globe including current and former politicians. According to World Bulletin, Turkish sources report Israeli forces used live fire on the activists in the international aid ships. The flotilla’s lead ship the ‘Mavi Marmara’ was attacked with gas canisters and live ammunition while operating in international waters 65 kilometers outside the Gaza coast. Footage airing on Al-Jazeera television showed heavily armed Israeli soldiers in ships and helicopters. Commandos were then seen rappelling from helicopters armed with assault rifles onto the deck of a ship and maneuvering near passengers in orange life vests. It later showed what appeared to be a shooting victim covered in blood receiving attention from another passenger. Haaretz is reporting that the number of fatalities has now risen to at least 10 with more than 60 injured while Israeli television has put the figure at between 14 and 16. At least four Israeli soldiers were wounded in the operation, the New York Times reports. A radio report from ipadio can be found here. The Free Gaza Movement had sought to break the three year long Israeli blockade of the Palestinian Gaza Strip and deliver badly needed humanitarian aid including food, medical supplies and olive trees. According to a post on the group’s WitnessGaza website, which tracked the progress of the flotilla from its departure point to the Gaza Strip:

At about 4:30 am, Israeli commandos dropped from helicopter onto deck of Turkish ship, immediately opened fire on unarmed civilians. Don’t know fate of the other boats.

 

 At this point, all communications from the flotilla appear to have been stopped. Diplomatic tensions are already beginning to be felt as Turkey has now summoned the Israeli envoy over the flotilla attack. In Turkey, people have reacted withl protests in both Ankara and Istanbul were crowds continue to gather. Earlier, outraged protesters tried to storm the Israeli consulate in Istanbul before being pushed back by security sources. An official response has yet to emerge from the Israeli government but an Israeli cabinet minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer expressed regret in an interview with Israel’s Army Radio:

The images are certainly not pleasant. I can only voice regret at all the fatalities.

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Israel’s moral decadence

Yariv Oppenheimer | May 31, 2010
(published in Maariv, Hebrew only)

Even if the fleet to Gaza is irritating and outrageous, a sovereign state cannot treat every act of protest as a terror event that has to end in bloodshed

Tonight Israel marked a new low point in the way it chose to contend with its domestic and external policy dissidents. A state that will not let its citizens protest, demonstrate and demand justice, a state that is busy composing loyalty tests for its citizens and passing laws to limit the freedom of expression, failed again in the real test and stopped a protest fleet of civilian ships at the cost of more than ten lives.
  The fleet that left Turkey a few days ago managed to anger even me. Hundreds of pro-Hamas activists challenged Israel blatantly and outrageously. Not a word of censure of the Hamas government, not a word about Gilad Shalit and not a word about the desire for peace. Nonetheless, a sovereign state cannot treat every show of protest, however outrageous and irritating it is, as a terror event that has to end in bloodshed. Instead of using the fleet to generate an internal Israeli discussion about the effectiveness of the policy of the siege of Gaza and its moral and political implications for Israel, all of the government spokesmen chose to focus on the handful of activists on the ships and grace them with the title of existential threats to Israel’s security. From here to unnecessary bloodshed the path was short.


 
It is not the soldiers’ fault, nor the commanders’ nor the heads of the IDF’s. Israeli society as a whole is responsible for the grim results of the IDF takeover of the protest ships. The radicalization of Israeli society is yielding its fruit. The message to the soldiers and police is crystallizing. When Arabs are involved in an activity, the hand on the trigger is light. Determination boards the ship while sensitivity stays in the water.
 
But have no fear, the domestic Israeli propaganda machine began to work and in just a few hours every Israeli will be recounting how Hamas helicopters took over a Jewish ship and shot illegal immigrants in all directions. With the use of our repression mechanisms and the encouragement of the IDF spokesman we will again dissociate from reality and the world and manufacture our own unique script in which we are the victims and the whole world is against us as usual. Will the outcome of tonight’s confrontation end with an official commission of inquiry? No chance.
 
Israel justifies its brutal and violent image
 
The price for the unfortunate results of the fleet will be paid primarily by the families of those who were killed at sea last night. Next in line to pay the price will be the residents of Israel who want peace and the end of the conflict with all their hearts, and who wish to stop the cycle of bloodshed and live in a saner country. We, the silent majority, watch with despair as Israel with its own actions justifies the brutal and violent image it acquired in the last years and gives our biggest enemies in Hamas and Iran a reason to rejoice.


 

If the miserable naval clash had any winners, they are in Tehran, in the bunkers of Beirut and in the Hamas headquarters in Gaza. The Hamas government succeeded with the Israeli government’s active support to receive international recognition, to gain the support of the Arab world and to be seen as a hero standing up to Israel.
 
The enemies of peace and the extremists on both sides can again find reasons to attack each other and deepen the hatred and hostility between Jews and Arabs in Israel and outside of it. Again the moderates on both sides are silenced and the voice of reason is drowned out by the voices of incitement and hatred. Without a loud voice of protest by a patriotic Israeli public calling on its leaders to change course, we will all find ourselves in a morally and politically decadent country, slowly sinking into the depths.

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Israel completes towing Gaza flotilla to Ashdod port

Israel detains at least 32 activists upon arrival, hospital some 34; Turkish-flagged ship stormed by Israel Navy last to arrive at port.

By Liel Kyzer and Yair Ettinger Tags: Gaza flotilla

The Turkish-flagged ship carrying international activists bringing humanitarian aid to Gaza docked at the Ashdod port on Monday evening, nearly 16 hours after it was stormed by Israel Navy commandos in what turned into a deadly raid.

The Mavi Marmara was the last of the six-ship flotilla to be towed into the port, and its 600 passengers were kept on board while Israel Police sappers conducted a thorough examination of the vessel.

Nine activists aboard the ship were killed and several more wounded in the clashes that erupted with Israel Navy troops at 4 A.M. on Monday. Eight of the Israeli soldiers were wounded, two of them seriously.

The other ships were towed to port over the course of the afternoon, with dozens of the activists detained for refusing to sign Israel’s deportation orders. Only some 25 of the activists agreed to the order.

Israel Prisons Services incarcerated at least 32 of the activists who were aboard the Gaza aid flotilla, at least 16 of them for refusing to identify themselves.

At least two of the activists who were wounded on the ship were detained after refusing treatment at the Barzilai Hospital in Ashkelon. Some 34 of the foreigners were treated hospitals across Israel for their wounds.

Israel has said it will deport the roughly 700 activists in the flotilla. But those who refuse to cooperate will be jailed.

 

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PA cabinet condemns assault on Freedom Flotilla

Ramallah – Ma’an – Reiterating Prime Minister Salam Fayyad’s earlier statement, the Palestinian Authority cabinet condemned what it termed the “Israeli criminal attack” on the Freedom Flotilla and called for the immediate lifting of the blockade on Gaza.

Convening in Ramallah, the cabinet issued instructions to the PA Foreign Ministry for immediate and enhanced diplomatic contacts with the diplomatic corp at the PA and on all levels, with Arab, Islamic, Non-Aligned Movement countries and UN organizations, including the UN Security Council, “to condemn this crime [raid on aid convoy] and effectively act to guarantee a lift of the siege on the Gaza Strip,” a statement read.

The 43rd Commemoration of Israeli occupation

The cabinet called on Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian territories and in the diaspora “for further solidarity, focused efforts and determination to continue the peaceful resistance and struggle to achieve the national objective of ending the occupation and establishing the independent Palestinian State with east Jerusalem as its capital, despite the escalated Israeli aggressive and racist policies targeting the land and the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, and especially in Jerusalem.

PA ministers said they condemned “Israeli persistence on legislating its prolonged occupation and escalating its practices against our people, most recently were the planned setting of fire of Palestinian property, executed by settlers, in Nahalin, Sair, Tal Rumeida and Assira al Qabaliya, Beit Iksa, Iraq Burin, Kufur Labad … This in addition to continued Israeli army raids on the Gaza Strip and the oppression of peaceful anti wall protests.”

Racist Israeli legislation

The PA cabinet condemned the series of racist laws ratified by the Israeli Kenesset recently, which aim at imposing further restrictions on Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons. The cabinet stressed that the Israeli Kenesset consent to discussing such laws is in itself a violation of all democratic values and legislating oppressive practices, disregarding humanitarian international law and basic human rights and is a clear violation to the Geneva 4th Convention.

The cabinet praised the WHO General Assembly decision to form a fact-finding mission to investigate the health situation of sick prisoners in Israeli prisons.
And on the occasion of the Child International Day on Tuesday the cabinet called for the release of 300 minor prisoners in Israeli prisons, and on Israel to abide by international law and the Child Protection Act by stopping all violations towards our children prisoners.

Settlement goods boycott

The cabinet approved the formation of the Karama National Fund for Employment (Dignity Fund), to be finally ratified in the next session. Ministers considered the decision an “official, national and moral responsibility” and means to counter the challenge of implementing the Palestinian law that prohibits settlement produce, considers them illegal products, banned from usage and subject to fines upon handling, as well as prohibiting providing services or products to settlements.

The cabinet stressed its full commitment to seek job opportunities for workers who would stop working in settlements through an incentive plan, projects and incentives to private sector to absorb the workers and provide training and rehabilitation opportunities.

The cabinet also approved the Investment Promotion Law and presented it to the President for ratification, with the aim of presenting further incentives to encourage investments in various economic sectors and implementing the partnership with private sector and creating the proper atmosphere for developing the Palestinian economy and better restructuring of investment incentives. Especially by medium and small sized enterprises as well as contribute to supporting the steadfastness of the people.

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Turks march against Israeli attack

 
 
 
Israeli security forces fired tear gas at protesters in the occupied West Bank [AFP] 

Thousands of people have taken to the streets in the Turkish city of Istanbul and around the world to denounce Israel over its attack on the convoy of Gaza-bound aid ships that left at least 19 people dead.

Around 10,000 people marched from the Israeli consulate in Istanbul towards the city’s main square shouting slogans and waving banners saying “Killer Israel”.

Bulent Arinc, Turkey’s deputy prime minister, said there were up to 400 Turks among nearly 600 people aboard the Mavi Maramara, the Turkish vessel which was leading the so-called Freedom Flotilla.

Other demonstrations denouncing the Israeli raid have been held in many cities around the world, including the capitals of Syria, Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon and the UK.

The United Nations Security Council was to meet on Monday afternoon for an emergency session to discuss the matter.

Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general, condemned Israel’s actions and called for an investigation.

‘Devastating and deplorable’

Pro-Palestinian campaigners marching in London spoke of their fears about the fate of British citizens aboard the flotilla.

Several hundreds activists blocked Whitehall, the main administrative area for the UK government, shouting “Free Palestine” and carrying flags and banners with slogans such as “Stop Israel’s War Crimes in Gaza” and “End the Criminal Siege of Gaza”.

Hundreds Of Palestinians Storm Israeli Embassy 

Kate Hudson, chairwoman of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), who joined the demonstration, said: “Obviously we have great support for the humanitarian convoy which has gone there to try and bring relief to the people in Gaza.
 
“It is devastating and deplorable that the Israeli forces have attacked civilians on the flotilla.

“We have close friends on the boat on which people were killed and we are here waiting for news.

“We are trying to get through to them but we are not getting any answers.”

Turkey, Egypt, Spain, Greece, Denmark and Sweden have all summoned the Israeli ambassadors in their respective countries to protest against the assault.

Palestinians in the occupied West Bank have clashed with Israeli security forces who responded with tear gas, injuring many people.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Consulate stormed

Earlier on Monday, protesters in Istanbul attempted to storm the consulate, scaling over the compound’s walls, but were blocked from going further by police.

 
 

Protests also took place in Ankara, the Turkish capital.

A charity in Turkey has said most of those killed in the raid on six ships in international waters were Turkish nationals.

Israel has advised its citizens to avoid travel to Turkey and instructed those already there to keep a low profile and avoid crowded downtown areas.

Arinc said that the nation would be cancelling three joint military exercises and recalling a youth football team from Israel.

Anita McNaught, Al Jazeera’s correspondent in Istanbul, said relations between Israel and Turkey have deteriorated since Israel’s recent war on Gaza.

“Up until that point they had … a constructive military alliance and for many years they saw the issue of domestic terrorism as one they had to share information about,” she said.

“But since the Gaza war relations have nose-dived and it would be absolutely fair to say that this is the lowest point.”

International condemnation

Israeli forces stormed the flotilla, which was carrying 700 pro-Palestinian activists and 10,000 tonnes of aid, while they were 65km off the Gaza coast in international waters.

 
 

The action has brought widespread condemnation, with the EU foreign affairs chief demanding that Israeli authorities mount a “full inquiry” into the attack.

Catherine Ashton also reiterated a longstanding demand for “an immediate, sustained and unconditional opening of the crossings for the flow of humanitarian aid, commercial goods and persons to and from Gaza,” a spokesman said.

France and the UN’s Middle East envoy have also condemned the attack, while Greece suspended a military exercise with Israel and postponed a visit by Israel’s air force chief.

There are about 700 activists on board the flotilla, included people from the US, Britain, Australia, Greece, Canada, Malaysia, Algeria, Serbia, Belgium, Ireland, Norway, Sweden and Kuwait.

The majority of people on the ships are from Turkey.

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   Angry Palestinians Take to Streets; Israeli Occupation Forces on High Alert
 
 
 
 

In response to the Israeli massacre against the “Freedom” flotilla on Monday and amid high alert declared by the Israeli occupation forces,  angered Palestinians in the 48 occupied territories took to the streets, as the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee declared a one-day strike on Tuesday.

Hundreds of Palestinians flooded onto the streets of the northern city of Nazareth to protest against the bloody attack, which left at least 19 activists martyred and other 60 wounded.

The Higher Arab Monitoring Committee declared a one-day strike would take place on Tuesday, and called for protests across the country.
Among the injured leader of the Islamic Movement’s northern branch in the occupied territories Sheikh Raed Salah whose injuries are serious.
Later on, Israel media reported that the condition of Sheikh Salah is hopeless.

Shortly after news of operation became public, Israel occupation police raised the level of high alert in the West Bank and closed several other areas east of occupied Al-Quds (Jerusalem) and lands occupied in 1948.
“We have raised our level of alert across the country to deal with possible disturbances,” Micky Rosenfeld foreign press spokesman for Israel occupation Police told AFP.

Speaking to army radio, Industry and Trade Minister Binyamin Ben Eliezer called on the Palestinians population to “react in a reasonable manner” to the attack.

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