Israel Assaults Freedom Waves to Gaza Activists - by Stephen Lendman
Israel beat and arrested nonviolent activists.
A previous article explained the following:
On November 2, two vessels blocked last summer from reaching Gaza sailed again from Fethiye, Turkey.
Canada's Tahrir and Ireland's Soairse (Freedom) comprise the Freedom Waves to Gaza mission. On board were 27 international activists, journalists, and crew.
According to a participating Press TV correspondent, "Israeli warplanes and naval vessels" shadowed them in international waters. "Eight Israeli warships made radio contact," demanding they change course.
They refused. They didn't sail to turn back. They dedicated their mission "to challenge Israel's ongoing criminal blockade."
Israeli ships interdicted them. General Gaby Ahkenazi ordered them seized and impounded. Both vessels were severely damaged, taken to Ashdod, and remain held.
On November 5, Canadian Boat to Gaza headlined, "Freedom Wave riders beaten, denied access to family; organizers demand accountability," saying:
Israel arrested 27 activists on board. Communication with them was lost. They're illegally detained. Contact with family members was denied. Roughed up participants got no medical treatment.
"We have heard indirectly from our governments' ministries of foreign affairs (in Canada and Ireland), but that is simply not good enough. We want to speak with our people directly," said Wendy Goldsmith, Canada Boat to Gaza organizer.
"Why will our governments not demand the delegates be able to speak to their families? We do not trust the Canadian government on this - as they have shown time and again that they are complicit in Israel's violations of international law and gross human rights abuses."
The last communication gotten was a 10:08PM Irish boat text message, saying:
"Kidnapped, being held against our will by Israeli Army in international waters. Boat nearly destroyed. Need government to press for immediate release."
The phone then went dead. Israeli Arab participant, Majd Kayal, aboard the Canadian boat confirmed that Israeli commandos boarded both vessels violently. Video evidence showed water cannons fired at them in rough waters, endangering those on board.
Activists offered no resistance. Professor David Heap aboard the Canadian boat "was particularly badly beaten. Israeli prison authorities are continuing to prevent (his) family from contacting him by phone."