Passengers of Jewish Aid Boat to Gaza Allege Israeli Mistreatment
Passengers of a Jewish aid boat prevented from reaching Gaza are accusing the Israeli military of excessive force in seizing their ship. On Tuesday, eight of the nine activists aboard the Jewish Boat to Gaza ship Irene were released after being apprehended miles off the Gaza coast. They were attempting to deliver a symbolic load of humanitarian aid to break the Israeli siege of the Gaza Strip. Israeli activist and former Israel Air Force pilot Yonatan Shapira said he was beaten and shocked with a taser gun.
Yonatan Shapira: "The soldiers were very brutal to us, they didn’t kill us like they killed other Palestinians and Muslims, but they were very brutal. I got shot with a tazer shock gun, electric and was brutally treated just like my brother Itamar. We were detained pretty violently and later, now, we were released and they blame us, they accuse us of attacking the soldiers and threatening the soldiers and of course everything is upside down, it’s a complete lie."
Other passengers included the eighty-two-year-old Holocaust survivor and Israeli resident Reuven Moskovitz, who lived under Nazi occupation as a child in Romania.
Reuven Moskovitz: "We are talking about one and half million people, 800,000 children. When I was a child, I was imprisoned for five years and I can’t forget it. I cannot sleep at night, I have nightmares that have haunted me all my life. Do you know what we are doing to these people (in Gaza), and what we are doing to our own soldiers?"
Aid Convoy Arrives in Turkey En Route to Gaza
The Jewish Boat to Gaza was the latest attempt to break the blockade since Israel’s deadly attack on an aid flotilla in May. Meanwhile, a convoy of some 45 vehicles carrying aid has arrived in Turkey on its way to Gaza from Europe. The convoy, dubbed Viva Palestina, will attempt to reach Gaza next month. British activist Patrick Audai said Israel’s attack on the flotilla motivated him to take part.
Patrick Audai: "When I saw what those Israeli terrorists did to those innocent activists on board of Mavi Marmara, and those people who died, they are the heroes, they are the conscience of the world. That’s when I decided that I must make a stand and that I must come to Gaza and take medical aid to relieve the people there from their terrible suffering."
Democracy Now 9-29-10