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Activists tasered as Israeli navy intercepts Freedom Flotilla boat heading to Gaza i
Freedom Flotilla Coalition News Statement
For Immediate Release, Monday July 30, 2018 15:00 CEST.
Two people from Al Awda (The Return) have been released, but most of the
crew and participants are still in unlawful detention at Givon prison in
Israel. We are still gravely concerned for their safety and well-being as we
had no contact with most of them as of 14:00 CEST today. We continue to
demand that our boat and the medical supplies on board reach their rightful
recipients, Palestinian civil society in Gaza.
Although the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) claim that the capture of our
vessel happened ‘without exceptional incident’, eye-witness Zohar
Chamberlain Regev reports that at the time of boarding: “People on board
were tasered and hit by masked IOF soldiers. We did not get our passports or
belongings before we got off the boat. Do not believe reports of peaceful
interception.” We urgently need to know the details of who was injured and
how seriously, and what treatment they are receiving, if any. A military
attack on a civilian vessel is a violent act and a violation of
international law. Taking 22 people from international waters to a country
which is not their destination constitutes an act of kidnapping, which is
also unlawful under the international Convention of the Law of Sea.
From the time we lost contact around 13:15 local time on Sunday, we know
that the IOF blocked all communication signals, including satellite phones.
We are very concerned about this violation of journalists’ right to report
freely and we remain gravely concerned about their ability to keep their
professional equipment and their storage media. As Australian journalist
Chris Graham recently observed “Bad things happen when good people stay
silent, as history well records. But horrendous things happen when media are
prevented from scrutinizing the actions of a state.”
Two of our participants who are Israeli citizens have been charged with
attempting to enter Gaza and conspiracy to commit a crime, and were released
on bail this morning. One of them, boat leader Zohar Chamberlain Regev,
reports seeing blood on the deck of the Al Awda as the last participants
were being dragged off the ship.
In comparison with the violence routinely directed at Palestinian civilians,
including at fishers from Gaza, and the violent capture of Palestinian
fishing boats, yesterday’s seizure and kidnapping may not be the most
serious of Israeli crimes. What these violents acts have in common is that
there is no accountability demanded by other governments and Israel
continues to enjoy total impunity.
We call on national governments, civil society and international
organizations to demand that Israeli authorities immediately release our
boat so that we can deliver our much-needed medical supplies on Al Awda and
the fishing boat itself to the rightful recipients in Gaza. Detailed
specification of our exact cargo on board are available on request.
Israel’s capture of the lead boat in this Gaza-bound flotilla may seem like
a predictable outcome to some, but that doesn’t make it any less violent nor
any less illegal. Our second boat Freedom will follow Al Awda within a day
or two, and the Freedom Flotilla will continue until the blockade ends and
Palestinians of Gaza regain their full freedom of movement.
Details about detainees still in prison, including their last videos and
personal statements, can be found on our website and Facebook pages:
For more information, contact media spokespeople:
(Low resolution photo transmitted from the boat during final hours of
Jerusalem Post news item by Anna Ahronheim
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