Tuesday, June 1, 2010

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Freedom Flotilla Attack: A badly executed plan?

Gaza Freedom FlotillaIn my opinion, the terrible attack on the freedom flotilla was bound to happen. Anyone, who has been following news related to this high profile fleet, would have expected such confrontation between the international activists and the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). The Israeli foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, regarded the flotilla as a provocation and made it clear that the country’s forces are going to restrict the ships from arriving to port on Sunday, with any means necessary. He said “we really have all determination and political will to prevent this provocation against us,” and that he thinks they’re “ready at any cost ... to prevent this provocation."

MSNBC reported that the raid, which took place around 5:00am on Monday, resulted in the deaths of 9 activists and dozens of serious injuries, on board of the Mavi Marmara (one of the 6 ships carrying the aid to Gaza and on which the confrontation was the most hostile). The IDF later announced that soldiers opened fire in act of self-defense, after being attacked by the activists on board. They released the following footage (and this one) showing heavy fighting on the deck of the above mentioned vessel.



After this violent strike, the IDF took control of the ships and towed them to shore. Upon arrival, injured civilians were taken to four different hospitals while many of the activists, who were on board of the ships, were arrested and questioned – the government had planned these detentions prior to the sailing of the flotilla. The authorities had already set up a detention and interrogation facility capable of handling hundreds of people, reported Ma’ariv, a daily tabloid published in Tel Aviv, the port will be turned into a “giant interrogation room”. Most of what was reported on this bloody incident was from Israeli sources. A very small number of activists were quoted on the matter. An American passenger stated "I'm not violent. What I can tell you is that there are bruises all over my body. They won't let me show them to you".Freedom Flotilla protest in front of White House

Different opinions were being shaped in response to this hostile blockade. In many countries a series of anti-Israel rallies was triggered, condemning the hostile measures taken by the IDF (the picture on the left is taken in front of the white house). On the other hand, some people justified the Israeli actions taken against the freedom flotilla. They believe the activists were the ones who initiated the hostility – their only source of information is the IDF claims along with a prejudice against Muslims.

Given the unreceptive attitude on the whole idea of the flotilla, which the Israeli government has been advertising for weeks, as well as their clear intentions to intercept it, it is more likely that the IDF had already planned this “terrorist” attack against the activist on board of the Marmara. The following video was uploaded to YouTube by WilliamTomg, yesterday, and it contains the footage taken on board of the Marmara during the assault by the IDF. Three reporters (one of whom is speaking in English) are describing the actual scene; at one point, they report that the activists are raising a white flag for the Israeli soldiers but they are still shooting at them. This video gives a clear perspective on how the events unfolded. If you are going to watch the video do not worry about the lack of subtitles, all three reporters are disclosing the same information in three different languages (English, Arabic and Turkish).


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