Israeli Raid on Gaza Aid Flotilla Triggers Firestorm of Protest Worldwide
Interview with Ramzi Kysia, organizer with the Free Gaza Movement, conducted by Scott Harris
An Israeli military assault on a flotilla of civilian ships in international waters carrying 10,000 tons of humanitarian aid to the Palestinian population of Gaza, resulted in at least nine dead, dozens injured and an international firestorm of protest. While the Israeli ministry of foreign affairs claimed that, "during the interception of the ships, the demonstrators onboard attacked the IDF naval personnel with live fire and light weaponry including knives and clubs," passengers on board tell a very different story. Survivors of the attack told Free Gaza, one of the groups that organized the flotilla, that Israeli troops who boarded the Turkish-flagged ship, "Mavi Marmara," the site of the worst violence and all the fatalities, repelled down ropes from helicopters onto the ship and began to shoot the moment their feet hit the deck.
The 700 passengers from 40 nations aboard the seized ships, which included a Nobel Peace laureate, parliamentarians, and former U.S. diplomats, were brought to the Israeli port of Ashdod, where they were questioned and their cameras, laptops, cellphones and clothes were confiscated. In reaction to the Israeli attack protests erupted across the world., Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, where four of the nine killed were from, accused Israel of "state terrorism," and withdrew its ambassador to Israel. The United Nations Security Council condemned the attack and demanded an impartial investigation into the naval assault.
Leaders of the Free Gaza Movement vowed to send another cargo ship to Gaza in the coming days. Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with Ramzi Kysia, an organizer with the Free Gaza movement, who reviews the tragic events resulting from the Israeli attack and the reason human rights groups are challenging Israel's Gaza blockade, enforced since June 2007.
Contact the Free Gaza Movement's U.S. office at (510) 232-2500, or visit their website at www.freegaza.org.
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