The Guardian has a similar report contradicting the Israeli version of events. Greek activists on returning to Athens accused the IDF of using TASERs. Dimitris Gielalis, who had been aboard the Sfendoni, told reporters: “Suddenly from everywhere we saw inflatables coming at us, and within seconds fully equipped commandos came up on the boat. They came up and used plastic bullets, we had beatings, we had electric shocks, any method we can think of, they used.” See also this report in the Israeli press where the parliamentarian says she thinks Israel’s aim was to cause causalties. She said the flotilla’s participants did not have any violent intentions: “Our goal was to break the siege. We had no plans for a confrontation. Israel carried out a provocative military operation. Israel is used to doing as it pleases with the Palestinians. The main problem is not the ship, but the siege. It was clear from the size of the force that boarded the ship that the purpose was not only to stop this sail, but to cause the largest possible number of fatalities in order to stop such initiatives in the future.” Meanwhile, an Israeli spokesman has said that their troops were attacked as though in a ‘war’ and will respond with greater force next time. They won’t have to wait long – pro-Palestinian activists have already sent another ship to run the blockade. See StatismWatch’s coverage of the last attack on Gaza beginning here – the conflict at the heart of these (political) aid initiatives.
Update(2010/06/02): A Canadian activist that has just been deported, Rifat Audeh, also reports that the aid ships were unarmed and that the IDF commandos beat him upon boarding the ship.
Related: Protests in Middle East, Europe, follow deadly Israeli attack on flotilla as UN convenes emergency session | Israeli troops attack ship carrying aid to Gaza killing 16 | Israeli navy prepares for action as activists’ flotilla nears Gaza | George Galloway, on aid mission to Gaza, is deported from Egypt | Cynthia McKinney Demands Immediate Release After Her Gaza-Bound Boat is Seized by Israeli Navy | Israeli troops kill apartheid wall protester | Gaza relief boat carrying former Congresswoman rammed by Israelis | Former US congresswoman, presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney barred from boarding plane to human rights conference
June 1, 2010
Some of the first accounts emerged Tuesday from eyewitnesses who were aboard several boats stormed by Israeli forces as they approached Gaza the day before.
Hanin Zoabi, a member of the Israeli parliament, was on board the Miva Marmara, the ship that was the scene of a confrontation between activists and Israeli soldiers. That clash left at least nine people dead.
The Israeli Navy fired on the ships five minutes before commandos descended from ropes that dangled from helicopters, Zoabi said during a press conference in Nazareth, Israel. She said passengers on board the ship were unarmed.
Israel has said its forces found several weapons among the passengers on the Miva Marmara. Israel also has said that its forces started shooting after passengers on the Miva Marmara assaulted them.
Zoabi said the military operation lasted about an hour and that she saw five dead bodies in that time.
She urged Israeli authorities to investigate and to let the news media interview passengers who have been detained.
Zoabi said she believes Israel has video footage of how the ten passengers were killed, and she called on Israeli authorities to release that footage.
Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has said that of the six ships in the flotilla, the people prepared an ambush on one, a reference to the Turkish ship. But on the other five, “the people got off without a scratch.”
Huwaida Arraf, one of the Free Gaza Movement organizers, told CNN Israeli troops roughed her up when they responded aggressively to her ship, a smaller one in the flotilla that was near the Turkish vessel where the casualties occurred.
“They started coming after our ship,” she told CNN, “so we took off and they charged us also. Eventually, they overtook our ship and they used concussion grenades, sound bombs and pellets.”
She said the people on her ship tried to keep them off. She said they were told the vessel was American and the people aboard were unarmed.
But, she said “they started beating people. My head was smashed against the ground and they stepped on my head. They later cuffed me and put a bag over my head. They did that to everybody.”
Her account could not be independently verified.
Source | Alternate Coverage | See also under Militarization: Iran has ‘fuel for 2 nukes’: UN report | Israeli troops attack ship carrying aid to Gaza killing 16 | Israel rejects UN call to come clean on nuclear program | Options studied for a possible Pakistan strike by US | US acknowledges mistaken attack on Afghan civilians | MIddle East arms treaty a go despite US ‘deep regret’ over focus on Israeli nuclear arsenal | Police detail G20 security zone | Cyber Command: We Don’t Wanna Defend the Internet (We Just Might Have To) | Israeli navy prepares for action as activists’ flotilla nears Gaza | Infrastructure security plan unveiled | Pentagon: Let us monitor your network or else | Toronto Police to take up to $100-million of G20 security funds | Homegrown terrorist threat to be part of new US National Security Strategy | Toronto police buy four ’sound cannons’ for G20 | North Korea reacts angrily as Seoul’s navy holds military exercises off coast | Toronto and Muskoka G8/20 Summit security costs hit $1.1B | Obama sending 1,200 troops to Mexico border | North Korea to sever ties with South | US appoints first cyber warfare general | Disclosure of apartheid-era warhead negotiations with South Africa tip Israel’s nuclear hand | The Toronto G20 Police State Crackdown | Darpa’s Self-Learning Software Knows Who You Are | Toronto police agree to erase security zone pass info after G20 | Obama starts massive US Air-Sea-Marine build-up opposite Iran | Toronto streets get 77 more surveillance cameras for G20 | Canada’s navy cuts coast patrol fleet in half | NSA head confirmed as chief of US cyber command | US drone attack ‘kills Pakistan insurgents’ | Predator drones to begin flying Texas border patrol in a matter of months | Pentagon Turns to Brain Implants to Repair Damaged Minds | Keeping America Safe: SWAT Team Storms Family Home, Shoots Pet Dogs, Over Small Bag Of Marijuana | CIA Drones No Longer Need a Name to Kill | Fighter jets buzz Toronto, Muskoka in G20 test runs | Couple Arrested At U.S. Border For Asking Questions | RCMP unveil new stun gun rules: Verbal warning, imminent harm required | Downtown Toronto To Be Transformed Into Locked-Down Police State This Summer | Police State Canada 2010 and the G20 Summit | Protesters and police get ready to square off at G20 summit | Launch of secret US space ship masks even more secret launch of new space missile platform | Waterloo firm creates ‘flying robot spies from the skies’ for global law enforcement market | U.S. combat jets buzzing Ont. border city | ‘Vast’ biometric database prompts troops to open fire on vehicle, 4 unarmed Afghans killed | U.S. Troops Apologize For Wikileaks Massacre Video | Toronto police disclose Tasers often used on mentally ill | UN-led uranium deal still on table: Iran | Afghan torture allegations erupt in UK | Militarized police integrate with private security for G20 Toronto concourse drill | Danger Room What’s Next in National Security Prospective U.S. Cyber Commander Talks Terms of Digital Warfare | Pakistan air strike ‘kills 71 civilians’ | Canada knew in 2007 Kandahar governor tortured prisoners in dungeon, bombed UN personnel | White House approves assassination of cleric linked to Christmas bomb plot | Small army to protect Toronto during G20 summit | Feds mulling plan to turn Parliament Hill into high-security zone | Barack Obama to limit use of US nuclear weapons | Controversial use of mercenary forces surges in Afghanistan | Afghan tension mounts as NATO offensive looms | US Airline Security Moves to Known Threat Descriptive Profiling | Recent mass grave of the ‘disappeared’ uncovered in Columbia | Cop Cleared By Grand Jury For Tasering Great Grandmother During Speeding Stop | Officers suspended after using Taser on 10-year-old | Raid on ‘unheard of’ Hutaree militia puzzles small town | The prison spending boom | Full Afghan withdrawal ‘wrong,’ top Tory says | Ontario report rewrites stun gun rules, somewhat | FBI raids in Washtenaw, Lenawee counties tied to Michigan militia group | Massive fortress Ottawa in the works | UK: Police Taser use ‘doubled’ in third quarter of 2009 | U.S. to press for Canada to keep troops in Afghanistan | Russia claims breakthrough in historic nuclear reduction agreement with US | Toronto G20 summit security to be ‘massive’ | British military intelligence ‘ran renegade torture unit in Iraq’ | RCMP needs 5,500 rooms during G20 summit | U.S. cybersecurity bill introduced in Senate | Body scans eventually mandatory, TSA official says | Planned random DUI checkpoints a violation of rights | Secret Document Calls Wikileaks ‘Threat’ to U.S. Army | Defence Department official used private contractors for spy network in AfPak | Public Safety Canada announces national plan to centralize operations in state of emergency | While Government Treats Citizens As Terrorists, Mexican Military Invades U.S. | Chicago police expanding Taser use | Cyberattacks push CSIS to reach out to business | An American Detention Bill You Ought to Read More Carefully | Canada wanted Afghan prisoners tortured: lawyer | Military trials possible for Sept. 11 terror suspects | Fingerprints Now Required to Shred (That Means Skateboard, Dude) | United States weighs massive expansion of Internet monitoring | UK: Mobile fingerprint scanner for English and Welsh police | Plan to put more police on Toronto transit | 1 in 3 Killed by U.S. Drone Attacks In Pakistan Are Civilians | Israeli preparations for war with Iran troubling | Downtown Toronto to become a fortress for G20 summit | Pentagon Discloses Hundreds of Reports of Possibly Illegal Intelligence Activities | Australia to fingerprint, face-scan visitors from Muslim nations | G8/G20: Gearing up for the biggest security event in Canadian history | Toronto braces for G20 disruption, Ottawa to pick up security tab | The truth about the Mossad | Iran could be making nuclear warhead, says new director of IAEA | USA: Fourth Amendment Trashed As Airport Tyranny Hits The Streets | RCMP to test Taser cameras | Report: France ‘deliberately’ used soldiers as ‘nuclear guinea pigs’ | UK Police use spy drone for first domestic arrest — without airspace clearance | Global security to top agenda of G8 foreign ministers | Five civilians killed in Nato rocket attack in Afghanistan | NATO’s novel battle tactic spawns opposite effects as 12 civilians killed | Russia to push ahead on Iran missile deal | Obama Making Plans to Use Executive Power | NATO, Afghan troops launch largest air assault of Afghan war | Report: ‘US to expand military centers in Pakistan’ | Vancouver police shut down several blocks, shopping mall to blow up fishing rod | Marjah, Afghanistan: Countdown To A Battle | Future police: Meet the UK’s armed robot drones | Obama threatens actions against Iran over nuclear program | Troops Randomly Patrol Streets In Pittsburgh in Wake of Snowfall, Respond To “Domestic Disputes” | CFB Trenton commander charged with murder | UN sanctions urged over Iran’s uranium plans | Elite Toronto police squad stops and questions thousands | Pentagon Looks to Breed Immortal ‘Synthetic Organisms,’ Molecular Kill-Switch Included | US Interrogation Squad Doing ‘Scientific Research’ | Domestic threats biggest Olympic security concern: expert | Washington DC transit system holds anti-terror drills | Hitchens: North Korean’s stature, worldview stunted by authoritarian hate and ignorance | U.S. deploys land and sea-based missile shield in the Gulf to deter attack from Iran | UN agency calls for global cyberwarfare treaty, ‘driver’s license’ for Web users | UK: Tony Blair attempts to shift focus to Iran as ‘global threat’ at Iraq war inquiry | Winnipeg police caught on video beating man | Blair defends decision to join U.S. in Iraq | Crotch bomber bill before Congress: Treat all ‘terrorism suspects’ as enemy combatants. Domestically. | Toronto Star Columnist Fiorito: The cops came and took my gun | Pentagon to Send More Special Forces Troops to Yemen | Military probes beating of Afghan prisoner | Obama’s War for Oil in Colombia | Pentagon calls for ‘Office of Strategic Deception’ | British and US troops to launch new Afghanistan offensive | The War on Terrorism and the Countdown to the 2010 Olympics | General McChrystal indicates talks with Taliban to be discussed | UK police plan to use military-style spy drones | UK: Photographers protest over terror search laws | Texas Schoolkids Tagged With GPS Tracking Devices | No new Taliban crackdowns for 6 months, Pakistan says | Congressman Ron Paul: After ‘CIA coup,’ agency ‘runs military’ | Olympic surveillance cameras causing concern | BATF Notice Bans Private Gun Sales In Texas | Regina police probe RCMP torture claims | War resister released from U.S. prison | Yemen forces ‘kill Al-Qaeda chief’ | UK: Anti-terror stop and search policy ruled illegal by European human rights court | Obama Executive Order Stokes Martial Law Fears | A North American Security Perimeter Coming Into View | North Korea calls for peace treaty with US | ‘No intention’ to invade Yemen: Obama | US Domestic Espionage Alert: Spy Drone Discovered | American cash gives Yemen a reason to join the hunt for al-Qaeda | Canada no longer a haven for war resisters | Ex-Blackwater contractors charged with Afghan killings | Airport security starts in the parking lot | PM Harper downplays detainee torture scandal, prorogation | Suspected US drone ‘kills 12ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â² in Pakistan | Body scanners coming to Canadian airports | UK: Full-body scanners being ordered for airports, says Gordon Brown | Group slams Chertoff on conflict of interest in scanner promotion | Britain, U.S. to fund Yemen anti-terror unit | For more see The Memory Hole — Militarization