Benjamin Netanyahu continues to insist the Mavi Marmara was full of terrorist sympathizers spoiling for a fight as he rejects an international inquiry into the events of that bloody morning. Iran, meanwhile, has stupidly offered military escort to any future aid convoys to Gaza, fueling paranoia that Gaza will become a beachhead and weapons drop for Iranian forces. Bay of Pigs, anyone?
Update: It came to light today as well that Israel has admitted to editing (not doctoring) the audio released of ship-to-ship communications prior to the attack. Sharp-eared citizens online had already commented on the audio disconnects between communications of known persons on the aid flotilla and anti-semitic comments, which Free Gaza accuses the Israeli government of inserting. While Israel denies this, it admits it is unable to confirm the source of the comments since the channel used was an open channel, and so any vessel in the water, or anyone on land within range, could have jumped in with a comment.
Related: Israel’s seizure of Gaza aid boat Rachel Corrie sparks further condemnation | Autopsy: Gaza flotilla activists were shot in head at close range | Gaza flotilla activists unarmed: Canadian | Gaza flotilla attack: British activists tell of abuse by Israelis | Israel to reject UN call for flotilla raid probe, MV Rachel Corrie under steam | IDF: ‘Activists threw stun grenades’ | Israel to deport all detained aid flotilla activists by end of day | Ex-Mossad agent: Gaza flotilla raid ’so stupid it’s stupefying’ | Knesset member and eyewitness: Israel fired before boarding ship | 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
Catrina Stewart, The Independent
June 6, 2010
Protesters say Israel had an assassination list. Israel says soldiers fired only in self-defence. So what really happened on 31 May?
Jamal Elshayyal, a journalist with al-Jazeera, woke with a start to the opening salvos of an Israeli assault that would transform the decks of the Mavi Marmara, a Turkish vessel bound for Gaza, into a bloodbath.
From the ship’s position deep in international waters, satellite images of Israeli speedboats and helicopters approaching the vessel were beamed across the globe before communications were abruptly cut off, leaving the events on the Marmara to unfold away from the eyes of the world.
Six days after the bloody assault that left nine foreign protesters, mainly Turks, dead, nobody can recount with any conviction precisely what happened that night. The convoy of ships, whose passengers included writers, politicians and journalists, had been expected for weeks, with organisers loudly broadcasting their plans to run Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip and draw international attention to the situation there.
From the beginning, it was clear that Israeli forces were concentrating in their largest numbers on the Marmara, a ship carrying some 550 peace activists. The remaining five boats were much smaller and easily commandeered. After the Marmara was subdued, the passengers silenced, and their recording equipment confiscated, Israel disseminated a carefully choreographed account of the events that night that would dominate the airwaves for the first 48 hours.