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May 31, 2010

Free Gaza 'Peace Activists' Turn Violent

Gaza flotilla injured soldier.jpg
An Israeli soldier, injured while intercepting the Gaza flotilla, was evacuated by his comrades today (Alex Rozkovsky/Reuters)

The Free Gaza flotilla, described by the Wall Street Journal and others in the media as peace activists, has been overtaken by the Israeli navy -- and all was not peaceful.

1) The IDF reports:

During the boarding of the ships, the demonstrators onboard attacked the IDF Naval personnel with live fire and light weaponry including knives and clubs. Additionally one of the weapons used was grabbed from an IDF soldier. The demonstrators had clearly prepared their weapons in advance for this specific purpose.

Several Israeli military personnel were wounded.

2) Also, from the IDF, two pistols were found on the "peace activists," stolen from IDF troops. The activists reportedly opened fire on the troops.

3) As the Los Angeles Times reports:

Video images released by the protesters appeared to show passengers beating commandos with clubs as the soldiers rappelled onto the vessel's deck. A live video feed, which showed bloodstains and injured people, was abruptly cut.

4) MEMRI provides an Al Jazeera clip of the activists chanting intifada songs and praising "martyrdom," not the usual melodies sung by your garden variety peace activists.

5) Of course, let's not forget who these peace activists are, from ISM to IHH. Many have endorsed violence in the past.

6) A broadcast today from Israel's Channel 10 carries clips from Turkish CNN, showing the activists using clubs and other weapons against the Israeli forces:

Posted by TS at May 31, 2010 04:53 AM


The ship with the casualties was the Turkish ship, which was not carrying that many European peace activists.

There is as yet no evidence for the following IDF claims: a) some passengers attacked the commandos *first* with steel clubs and daggers before the IDF fired; b) passengers fired on the commandos with live ammunition; c) a weapon was grabbed from the IDF.

"The activists apparently did open fire on the troops" has not been claimed by anybody; it is an invention of CAMERA. The IDF claimed that they did open fire on the troops, not "apparently". So once again CAMERA invents claims to its own liking.

If everything that the IDF spokesman says is true -- hardly likely considering its dismal track record -- what we have here is not a massacre but a commando riot. So, take your pick, CAMERA.

Posted by: Jerry Haber at May 31, 2010 05:47 AM

The facts are not all in, but it is easy to see where your sympathies lie.

As for the ship being armed: in international waters, a ship and its passengers have the right to defend themselves with all manners of arms against piracy on the high seas.

Among the questions requiring answers, why did the Israeli navy attack humanitarian ships in INTERNATIONAL WATERS, an act of piracy and of war against all the nations of the citizens who died on that ship?

Posted by: mavigozler at May 31, 2010 06:03 AM

Attacking the ships in international waters, 70 miles out, is a crime, pure and simple. even this right wing govt has outdone itself. WEEKS to prepare for this, hundreds of Israeli newspaper discussions of what to do, and this i how it ends up? This is not incompetence; it's state murder.

Posted by: Miami Dolphin at May 31, 2010 06:16 AM

Seems that international law does indeed allow embargo activity to be carried out in international waters:

If the ships were strictly humanitarian, why did the organizers refuse the Israeli offers to allow the cargo to be sent to the Gaza Strip under the supervision of the activists after having gone through inspection in an Israeli port?


Posted by: TS at May 31, 2010 06:51 AM

The WSJ makes no distinction between the Turkish versus other ships when it labels them all "peace activists," so Jerry, the relevance of your point is extremely unclear.

Jerry, the Snapshots post *paraphrased* from the IDF statement, as evidenced by the fact that quotation marks were not used. The provided link takes readers to the actual IDF statement. You might be interested to note that the New York Times similarly phrased the IDF statement, also using the word "apparently."

But to make matters clear for those challenged by the subtleties of the English language, I slightly altered the language of the the post regarding the use of the pistols by the activists to make clear that they "reportedly" (as opposed to "apparently") fired the weapons.

Posted by: TS at May 31, 2010 06:57 AM

More on international law:

According to the San Remo Manual (, it is permissible under rule 67(a) to attack neutral vessels on the high seas when the vessels “are believed on reasonable grounds to be carrying contraband or breaching a blockade, and after prior warning they intentionally and clearly refuse to stop, or intentionally and clearly resist visit, search or capture.�?

Posted by: TS at May 31, 2010 07:14 AM

I'm no fan of most of what the Israeli government does when it comes to Palestinian territories, ie settlements and walls, but I have to say if the blockade is legal then the peace activist were at fault. The footage clearly shows the soldiers being attacked the minute they stepped on the ship. I don't believe the soldiers were planning to kill people but felt they had to defend themselves when attacked. Israel should have planned better for what to do about the flotilla.

Posted by: Kristin at May 31, 2010 11:56 AM

Jerry Haber urges CAMERA to take its pick... Next time, don't pick Jerry Haber's comments.

Posted by: Ben at May 31, 2010 02:25 PM

Let's unpack your statement:

"There is as yet no evidence for the following IDF claims: a) some passengers attacked the commandos *first* with steel clubs and daggers before the IDF fired;"

Really? the video seems pretty conclusive. the idf was under attack from the moment they landed on the ship. yes indeed, there is evidence.

"b) passengers fired on the commandos with live ammunition

this ynet article provides compelling testimony of soldiers being fired upon. in the weeks ahead, we'll see more conclusive evidence either way.,7340,L-3897046,00.html"

c) a weapon was grabbed from the IDF.

if israelis were shot they were either shot by their own guns or weapons already on board. take your pick.

Posted by: a reader at May 31, 2010 09:22 PM

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