Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Israel Violently Assaulted Ship to Gaza Activists

Israel Violently Assaulted Ship to Gaza Activists

by Stephen Lendman

Israel lied saying interdicting Marianne Ship to Gaza's humanitarian mission was an "uneventful event." It was lawless and violent.  

Israeli Shayetet 13 elite Naval Special Forces were used. Their missions involve violence. They're brutal warriors, highly trained in clandestine sea operations, sea-to-land incursions, assassinations, counterterrorism, and sabotage with a reputation for ruthless efficiency.

Marianne activists weren't treated gently as Israel implied. Four or more were brutally tasered - stunned by enough high-voltage to cause cardiac arrhythmia or arrest in vulnerable subjects, risking death.

Tasering has harmful physical and cognitive effects. Brutal US police use them hundreds of times daily against targeted subjects nationwide. They should be banned altogether as too potentially dangerous to human health and well-being.

Freedom Flotilla III spokesperson Loukas Stamellos said "(a)t least four (Marianne activists) were tasered and one was slightly injured. We were questioning the military's narrative (about intervening nonviolently), but now we know at least some people were (assaulted and) hurt, and there was (likely pre-planned) violence during the interception."

Now released Marianne participant MK Basel Ghattas said Israeli commandos "violently" attacked the vessel about 2AM local time.

Some activists on board used "passive resistance tactics," he explained. Charlie Andreasson was injured from tasering.

"This is clearly pirate work," Ghassas stressed. "We were kidnapped for 24 hours." Some passengers were released. Others remain detained in Ramla prison, awaiting deportation.

A previous article discussed how earlier ship to Gaza activists were treated - assaulted by Israeli commandos, kidnapped, taken to Ashdod, held incommunicado for days at Ramla prison under horrific conditions.

It's one of Israel's harshest facilities, a stinking hellhole with inmates confined to tiny spaces in dark filth. Many had no beds. They were forced to sleep in overcrowded conditions with other prisoners on concrete floors.

They described the facility as cockroach-infested. Armed soldiers guarded them. Their personal possessions were confiscated. Days later, they were taken to Ashdod's central bus station.

They arrived with no money or belongings - left there on their own, treated like criminals for doing the right thing.

Expect Marianne activists experiencing the same harsh treatment - by an outlaw regime known for brutality.

Ghattas expects Israeli recrimination against him - including "attempt(ing) to take some privileges away from (him)…perhaps remov(ing) (him) from a committee."

He took a calculated risk, he explained. His aim was focusing on Israel's lawless blockade. He called its interdiction an "illegal action. Those responsible should be held accountable by international courts."

As this is written, at least nine of the 18 Marianne activists remain in Israeli custody, including two Canadians: Robert Lovelace and Kevin Neish. Flotilla spokesperson Zoe Blunt expressed concern about their welfare. They're likely being treated harshly.

Sweden's Foreign Ministry lodged an official complaint with Israel over the incident. Its spokeswoman Veronica Nordlund said:

From "the information we have been given, the Israeli navy intervention took place in international waters. According to law it’s only the flag State, in this case Sweden, (that) is allowed to act against another ship on international waters. Sweden has expressed (its) opinion on the event to Israel."

"We require consular access to contact (Marianne's) passengers…The situation is alarming, and Sweden considers the opening of the border checkpoints important."

Meanwhile, Israel's security agency Shin Bet head Yoram Cohen irresponsibly accused Hamas of gearing up for more conflict when he and other Israeli officials know it wants differences resolved peacefully to end blockade conditions.

Expect no softening in Israel's militantly hardline agenda. Expect no relief for beleaguered Gazans.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

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