Newly released footage raises fresh questions about tragic seizure of aid flotilla
Paul Joseph Watson
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
Newly released video footage of the Israeli raid on a humanitarian aid ship heading to Gaza shows passengers attacking IDF soldiers before they landed on board, but activists claim this was a legitimate response to the fact that commandoes had already fired upon and killed at least one passenger before they attempted to seize the ship.
The only thing that seems clear about yesterday’s tragic incident is the fact that Israeli forces illegally and aggressively boarded a humanitarian aid ship that was sailing in international waters. What happened afterwards takes two completely different directions depending on whose propaganda you listen to.
Claims that the activists on board represented an “armada of hate” are not backed up by videos shot on board before the incident. The fact that around 20 passengers were killed whereas IDF troops were only injured proves that the activists had not prepared a “terror ambush” as some quarters of the media claim.
However, there can be no doubt that activists on board the ship immediately set about the soldiers with poles and other weapons as soon as they were lowered on board by rope from helicopters stationed above, a fact still being stupidly denied by Palestinian activist media organizations.
The following video shows soldiers immediately being attacked, with one even being thrown overboard by the passengers.
The following video also shows activists beating up soldiers.
There’s no doubt that passengers engaged in violence against IDF troops, the question is whether that violence was justified because the passengers were acting in self-defense, having already come under fire from the commandoes before they boarded the ship.
Israeli claims that the activists had knives and also tried to wrestle rifles away from troops are not authenticated by any video footage released so far.
The video below appears to corroborate the claim that Israeli forces fired upon activists first, before they landed on the vessel, and before the activists started beating them up with poles and other weapons.
“In what could be a serious blow to Israel’s narrative on the killing of at least nine humanitarian activists making their way to Gaza through international waters, raw video by an Al Jazeera producer, who was filming during the raid, appears to provide evidence that the IDF opened fire on the flotilla even before boarding it,” reports Raw Story.
The Al Jazeera journalist describes the scenes as they unfold live, clearly stating that an activist has been shot and killed before Israeli troops board the vessel. He also says that a white flag has been raised in surrender to the Israeli army. On separate videos, messages broadcast to the passengers by loudspeaker can clearly be heard stating, “stop your resistance,” referring to the fact that the soldiers had guns.
Before the troops board the ship, the journalists report that the passengers are being pelted with tear gas and stun grenades. Booms and cracks echo in the background as the reporter states that one person has been killed.
“We are being hit by tear gas, stun grenades, we have navy ships on either side, helicopters overhead,” a Press TV reporter says. “We are being attacked from every single side. This is in international waters, not Israeli waters, not in the 68-mile exclusion zone. We are being attacked in international waters completely illegally.”
“The organizers are telling me now, they are raising a white flag — they are raising a white flag to the Israeli army,” the Al Jazeera reporter said. “This is after one person has been killed; a civilian has been killed by munition. That number could be more … Despite the white flag being raised, despite the white flag being raised, the Israeli army is still shooting, still firing live munitions.”
This play-by-play of the incident as it unfolded indicates that passengers, incensed that Israeli troops had fired upon and killed their colleagues in cold blood, viciously attacked other soldiers as soon as they came on board both in revenge and in fear that they could be slaughtered next.
Reports that IDF troops fired upon sleeping civilians and also carried an “assassination list” of who to kill would validate this reaction, but those claims are yet to be confirmed.
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It’s highly unlikely that those on board the ship will be able to discuss what took place anytime soon – because 487 of them have been arrested and imprisoned in Israel, with 48 others being held at Ben Gurion international airport awaiting deportation.
“Israel is holding the detainees under severe media censorship and actually cut off from the outside world, ensuring no contradiction of its version of Monday’s events,” reports Press TV.
Wherever the blame lies for this individual incident, it cannot be denied that the core of responsibility lies with Israel’s illegal and inhumane blockade of Gaza. Yesterday’s tragedy heaps more shame upon Israel’s already tattered global reputation and it will only enflame tensions in the Middle East to the benefit of those who want to keep the region in a permanent state of instability.
Only a full and impartial investigation will reveal whether yesterday’s incident represented a vicious battle between two political enemies, or a war crime metered out against innocent people who were merely trying to defend themselves.
This article was posted: Tuesday, June 1, 2010 at 5:12 am