#Israel Defense Forces violently intercepted the Swedish boat named Marianne (...) using tasers against unarmed passengers.
The 18 passengers, whose mission was to break the siege of #Gaza
, were taken to the Israeli port of Ashdod and the non-Israelis will be deported from Ben Gurion Airport.The Marianne was originally part of a flotilla comprised of four boats with 48 passengers, including human rights activists, journalists, artists, and political figures representing 17 countries.
Three of the boats returned to ports in #Greece
The passengers are an impressive group. Among them is Dr. Moncef Marzouki, former President of #Tunisia
who came to power after the 2011 popular uprising, and Dr. Basel Ghattas, a member of the Israeli Knesset
from the Joint List, a party representing Israel’s Arab citizens and the third-largest in Israel’s parliament.On one of the boats that returned to Greece are two #US citizens: retired US Army Col. Ann Wright and USS Liberty veteran Joe Meadors.
The participation of Parliamentarian Basel Ghattas caused an uproar in the Knesset, with several parliamentarians calling for his citizenship to be revoked. In an interview before leaving, Ghattas said he was participating in the flotilla because the “Gaza blockade contravenes international humanitarian law, in that it imposes collective punishment on Gaza residents. We must remember that it is these conditions that will lead us to another circle of war within a month, a year or two years from now.
So why not do whatever we can, make every effort possible, to change the reality, save lives and avoid another war?” he asked.Israel imposed its blockade on Gaza in 2006. Since then, there have been three major Israeli military offenses that have left the Strip devastated.The most recent massacre was in July-August of 2014, when Israel launched a 50-day military offensive against the coastal territory, killing about 2,200 mainly civilian Palestinians and leaving some 100,000 Gazans homeless.
A year since the bloodshed and destruction, Gaza has barely begun to rebuild. Israel maintains a complete air and sea blockade of Gaza and a partial blockade of goods and people through two land crossings. Israel forbids Gaza from having an airport or a seaport, except a small fishing harbor.
Gaza fishermen are only allowed to fish a few nautical miles from shore. These are the conditions that the flotilla hoped to focus attention on.The interception of the Marianne comes five years after the fatal interception of another Gaza-bound flotilla. Nine Turks and one Turkish-American were killed and several other activists were wounded on May 31, 2010 when Israeli commandos stormed the Mavi Marmara,
the lead vessel in that flotilla. Israel’s actions garnered denunciations from around the world and triggered a breakdown in its relations with #Turkey
. In 2013, Israel apologized for "operational mistakes" and is still negotiating compensation for the families.
This year, the Israelis were careful to board the Marianne without firing shots. Nonetheless, the boarding of a ship in international waters is considered an act of piracy under international law.
It’s ironic that Netanyahu insists that there is no blockade while at the same time prohibiting the flotilla from reaching Gaza.