Another zionist brutality: Gaza flotilla raid
Zionist occupation gangs conducted a military operation against six civilian ships of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla on 31 May 2010 in international waters in the Mediterranean Sea.
Zionist gangs martyred nine civilians on one ship during the attack. One further civilian has lost his life later of his wounds.
Three of the six flotilla ships, organized by the Free Gaza Movement and the Turkish Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief (İHH), were carrying humanitarian aid and construction materials, with the intention of breaking the zionist blockade of the Gaza Strip.
On May 31, 2010, the zionist gangs boarded the ships from speedboats and helicopters in order to force the ships to the port of Ashdod for inspection. The zionist gangs mounted a full-fledged and well-planned attack with frigates, helicopters, zodiacs, submarines, and elite combat troops heavily armed with machine guns, laser-guided rifles, pistols and modified paintball rifles. The zionist gangs shot from the helicopter onto the Mavi Marmara using live ammunition and killing two passengers before any Israeli soldier descended on the deck. During the attack, excessive, indiscriminate and disproportionate force was used by the zionist gangs against the civilians on board.
During the attack, nine civilians were martyred, including eight Turkish nationals and one Turkish American, and many were wounded. On 23 May 2014, a tenth member of the flotilla died on May 23, 2014, in hospital after being in a coma for four years.
According to the report of Turkish National Commission of Inquiry, once the zionist gangs took over the vessel, instead of exercising caution and restraint, they continued to brutalize and terrorize the passengers, abusing them physically, verbally and psychologically. The passengers were beaten, kicked, elbowed, punched, deprived of food and water, handcuffed, left exposed to sun, sprayed with sea-water for hours, and denied toilet access.
During and after the ten hours of sailing to the port of Ashdod, most of the passengers were kept handcuffed. Some of them were stripped and searched; women were subjected to sexually humiliating treatment.
All passengers were forced to sign incriminatory statements in Hebrew which most did not even understand; they were not allowed access to legal assistance, or to consular officials, nor provided with proper and timely medical care. They were denied adequate food and were confined to restricted spaces with extreme temperatures. The zionist gangs confiscated all property belonging to the passengers. Aside from the unlawful seizure of personal property, evidences of critical importance to shed light on the attack was destroyed, tampered with or despoiled.
The severe abuse against the passengers continued throughout their stay in the occupied Palestine, including their transport to prison/hospital and therefrom to the Ben Gurion Airport which was the scene to the second most brutal episode in this tragedy. The passengers who arrived at the airport, exhausted by the ordeal they were subjected to, were taunted, paraded as terrorists and enemies, verbally abused, spat on, bullied, pushed around and manhandled just to spark the slightest reaction which would be countered with massive retribution, resulting in mass beatings where officers brutalizing the passengers were shielded from view by their colleagues.
The bodies of the deceased were completely washed and repatriated to Turkey without any accompanying medical and autopsy reports. The Mavi Marmara itself, when returned after being held for 66 days in Ashdod, had been scrubbed down thoroughly, blood stains completely washed off, bullet holes painted over; ship records, Captain‘s log, computer hardware, ship documents seized, CCTV cameras smashed, all photographic footage seized and presumably destroyed or withheld.
According to a UN report, all activist deaths were caused by gunshots, and the circumstances of the killing of at least six of the passengers were in a manner consistent with an extra-legal, arbitrary and summary execution.
Several of the passengers were injured and the leg of one was fractured. The ships were towed to Israel. Some were deported immediately, while about 600 were detained after they refused to sign deportation orders; a few of them were slated for prosecution. After international criticism, all of the detained activists were also deported.
This atrocity drew widespread condemnation internationally and resulted in a deterioration of Zionist gangs–Turkey relations.
Zionists subsequently eased its blockade on the Gaza Strip. All surviving activists were freed, though only the Turkish and Greek ships were returned. Zionist gangs confiscated and continued to hold the other ships, as well as most of the property (including all media recordings) of over 700 passengers, as of June 2010.
There were several probes into the incident. A UNHRC report in September 2010 into the incident deemed the blockade illegal and stated that zionist gangs’ actions were disproportionate and betrayed an unacceptable level of brutality, with evidence for willful killing.
The UNHRC later also set up a panel of five human rights experts to examine the conclusions of the Palmer report. The panel stated that the zionist gangs’ blockade of Gaza amounted to collective punishment and was unlawful.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced a parallel probe in August 2010 by a four-member panel headed by Geoffrey Palmer. The Palmer report was published on September 2, 2011 after being delayed, reportedly to allow israel and Turkey to continue reconciliation talks. The report found that the zionist naval blockade of Gaza was legal. The report also found that the degree of force used against the Mavi Marmara was excessive and unreasonable, and that the way Israel treated detained crew members violated international human rights law. (ILKHA)