Eyewitness Account: ‘They began to fire machine guns …’

“The Gaza Flotilla Massacre: An Eyewitness Account” from pan-Arab London daily, The Middle East (Al-Sharq al-Awsat):

‘ Haneen Zoabi, who is a Palestinian Arab citizen of Israel and an MP for the National Democratic Assembly or Balad party, was on board the Mavi Marmara when it was stormed by Israeli commandos in international waters. She told Asharq Al-Awsat that … “”the operation began at around 11.30 pm on Sunday…we saw the lights of vessels far away. At around 1.30 am, these ships approached our ship, and at around 4 am there were around 13 ships and dinghies surrounding our ship…and as they approached they began to fire machine guns [at the ship], and then suddenly there were helicopters with commandos disembarking [onto our ship] whilst firing weapons, and firing a water cannon onto the deck of our ship.”…

“We were expecting an intercept and inspection mission, with the ship then being escorted to the Port of Ashdod, but we did not expect this to take place with such military intensity, and utilizing such weapons. This was a terrible attack on 600 activists, who are civilians, parliamentarians, and peace activist, and Israel has described them in a negative manner since the flotilla left port as being ‘terrorists’ and this is in order to justify aggression against them.” … MP Zoabi also indicated that another aim of this Israeli aggression was to intimidate and deter anybody from participating in future attempts to break the Gaza blockade. …

… “there were no plans for resistance, this came as a natural response in self-defense, and this is something that could have happened at any time or place…for when somebody finds themselves under attack they find themselves in a natural manner trying to defend their lives by all available means.”

16 Responses

  1. Apparently the other five ships were taken over with no gunfire or weapons of any kind being used. Why would the Israelis open fire on this one ship, before even attempting to board, and on none of the others? Hard to believe that the plan called for pre-boarding gunfire against only one of the six ships. If it indeed happened that way, perhaps one person in one of the attacking boats panicked or took matters into his own hands.

    • Excellent question. The Israelis have the answer. They are not releasing the video that would resolve it. Only the snippet of the reaction to their attack.

      I wonder if they considered IHH an arm of Hamas and so saw the Mavi Marmara in particular as a terrorist vessel onto which they should come with guns blazing.

      • .
        prompting me to trot out the worn cliche about “it’s not the crime, it’s the cover-up.”

        In their rush to mislead about what happened, they unwittingly revealed that they had everything recorded.
        .

    • passengers of other ships had guns pointed on them, were fired on by “plastic” bullets and beaten up. If they were NOT killed, it does not mean they were not attacked by Israel army.

  2. I am curious — what do all those right-wing “open carry” gun advocates say about this? They are always talking about “gov’mint” takeovers, black helicopters, or how that so-and-so never would shot up that Target store in NC if some shopper had been armed. Now, when unarmed civilians are murdered, what words of wisdom does the 2nd Amendment crowd have?

    • You want to throw out the Bill of Rights? If you want to get rid of the 2nd amendment, why not the 1st? After all, speech gets people angry sometimes and anger leads to violence.

      • No one wants to get rid of the 2nd amendment. A well regulated militia is central to our national defense, and has nothing to do with your “right” to buy a semi-automatic rifle at Wal Mart for less than the cost of a HDTV. There may be some good arguments against gun control, but th Constitution is not one of them. Now let’s not thread hijack any further.

  3. After yet another military debacle the small but powerful bloc of unwavering supporters of Israel must by now be feeling increasingly anxious as they become more and more aware of the profound incompetence, apparent of the IDF Officer Corps. “We thought it would be passive resistance, maybe verbal — but not at such strength,” said an Israeli captain, injured during the Gaza blockade flotilla op. Imagine what it would have been like for these IDF assault troops if the “passive resistance” (by this officer’s own account) practicing, peaceful demonstrators had they actually been (as the Israeli press contend) wearing similar body armor, sidearms; carrying assault rifles and/or light machine guns; and RPG’s ~ perhaps capable of taking out one or more troop-carrying helicopters, hovering above ~ or even hitting one of the small craft IDF coast-guard scale vessels, cruising (apparently unconcerned for their own safety) alongside the innocent-looking civilian convoy. What a suicide mission, indeed it would have been for these IDF assault troops, confused and terrified as they apparently were by a civilians wielding no more potency than makeshift clubs and kitchen cutlery in addition to their righteous anger.

    And an IDF suicide mission is actually the best-case scenario, imho. Imagine if the Mavi Marmara was, as Netanyahu said: “This wasn’t a love ship, it was a hate boat… This was not a peaceful operation, it was a terrorist operation…” actually was a Trojan Horse (!) So the IDF tow or tug-guide this gigantic IED into the Port of Ashdod, at which point some Tommy Tutone terrorist flips open his cell phone and dials 867-5309 whereby some tactical nuke WMD hidden behind a welded bulkhead goes >WHAM!< taking out Ashdod and a big chunk of Israeli coastline: thanks for the keys to the kingdom, Mr. Netanyahu.

    I mean, even if you're a knee-jerk supporter of "Israel's right to defend herself" — after being sucker-punched by a savvy Hezbollah, failing to stop a puny flying pipe-bomb fireworks display from Gaza, and looking like terrified teenagers when confronted by an "angry mob" of middle-aged peace protesters wielding deck chairs — you'd have to start questioning the Israeli Defense Forces' ability to defend themselves ~ much less, YOU.

  4. A Turkish newspaper published a full list of Turkish casualties.

    link to haberturk.com

    But it is amazing that nobody has published yet a full list of the victims. This should be the very first question that any journalist should address to the Israeli authorities! What a powerful PR machine!

  5. Phudi–
    Ambassador Oren, on the Diane Rehm show today, gave the answer to your question as to why the Mavi Marmara was the only vessel to experience Israeli violence — it was too large to be taken without aggression. The other vessels are apparently much smaller and manageable. There is also suspicion that the engines of the smaller boats were “taken care of.”

  6. It is getting harder and harder to support Israel.

    Israel continues to be a victim of its unprecedented success. Every challenge it has faced – it has overcome. Usually – spectacularly better than could have been expected. These successes have left them where they are today. Truly – the Lord of all they survey.

    What that looks like in the real world is this: they now own two concentration camps – one which they bomb when it fires rockets into the desert and the other (for not firing rockets into the desert) they just steal the land from it – acre by acre, day by day. On the other hand they pay orthodox members of their religion to stay home – study their Invisible Monsters Shopping List Book and breed. Because of this they now have a seriously numerous bat-shit crazy minority that has a significant say in the affairs of the state.

    The real charm of “Jews” was that so many of them were secular or cultural Jews – these people were progressive, intelligent, and an absolute wonderful addition to any culture or country they found themselves in. Israel’s growing numbers of bat-shit crazy fundys are not much to my liking – and I would hazard the guess that they are not much to the liking of anyone – including most secular or cultural Jews.

    So here sits Israel – a victim of its successes with a growing portion of the population thinking they are on a mission from their self-confessed, multiple-occasion, mass-murdering manic in whose embrace they wish to spend eternity. Ouch.

    I see no good coming from any of this – I despair for my Israeli friends – if not already, they will soon be alone – with only their gods and demons. Pity – seriously – a horrible pity.

  7. My son served with the US Coast Guard, and in that capacity participated in the arrest of a group of pirates off Somalia. He informs me that, although the pirates were armed with automatic rifles and rocket propelled grenades, thereby being about as well armed as the Coast Guard cutter, the Coast Guard boarding party boarded the hijacked ship with weapons holstered, and was able to defuse the situation peacefully. That the Israelis were either unable or unwilling to do the same with overwhelming force available, speaks very poorly of them.

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