In the pre-dawn hours of May 31, I was aboard the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara, part of a convoy of humanitarian vessels aiming to deliver aid to the besieged civilians in Gaza, when we were attacked in international waters by a unit of Israeli commandos. Our ship had been inspected by customs agents in Turkey, a NATO member, who confirmed that there were no guns or any such weapons aboard. Indeed, the Israeli government has produced no such arms. What was aboard the ship were hundreds of civilian passengers, representatives from dozens of countries, who had planned to deliver the flotilla’s much-needed material to the Gazan people.
Attack on the Gaza Flotilla: An Eyewitness Account
Palestinians in Gaza have suffered under an illegal siege—first imposed by Israel in 2005 and strictly enforced since early 2009—which Amnesty International has called “a flagrant violation of international law.” Hundreds of civilians, the representatives from dozens of countries, attempted to deliver much-needed material to the Gazan people by the Gaza flotilla. The passengers on board—including elected officials, diplomats, media professionals, and other human rights workers—joined the flotilla as an act of civil disobedience and because they believe there is no decent justification for preventing shipments of humanitarian aid from reaching people in crisis. Israeli military launched a nighttime assault with heavily armed soldiers who shot and killed nine civilians and seriously injured dozens more. What happened to the flotilla is happening to the people of Gaza on a daily basis. It will not stop until international law is applied to all countries, Israel included.
The Israeli military proceeded to “confiscate” any cameras, phones, and hard drives that contained footage of the raid.
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