Israel, Zionism and the Media

Tag: Mavi Marmara (Page 2 of 2)

The flotilla, Operation Cast Lead, Bloody Sunday and double standards

DERRY, NORTHERN IRELAND - MARCH 15: Some of the victims of the Bloody Sunday shootings are remembered on a mural in the Catholic Bogside area of Derry on March 15, 2010 in Northern Ireland. The Bloody Sunday Inquiry chaired by Lord Saville was established in 1998 to look at the shooting dead of 14 civil rights marchers by the British Army in Derry, Northern Ireland on January 30, 1972. Lord Saville and his fellow judges have spoken to 921 witnesses during the longest legal proceedings in British and Irish history. Their report is due to be sent to the Government by the end of March 2010. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

January 30th 1972 is ingrained in my memory. It was my birthday. I was still a schoolboy. There was a big fuss, but after a while, back in England, the memory faded.

In case you are unaware, 13 people, all Catholics, were shot dead in Bogside, (London)Derry by British paratroopers. The incident was soon named Bloody Sunday.

For 38 years the families of unarmed protesters have sought justice.

The army claims that some were armed, that there were bombers amongst them. The families, and history, seems to suggest that the army ran amok, shooting indiscriminately.

So why a comparison with Operation Cast Lead when the Israeli army and air force attacked Gaza in December 2008 to January 2009 killing over 1000 people and destroying hundreds of homes , buildings and infrastructure? The Israelis said it was necessary to stop rocket attacks from Hamas which had rained down on Southern Israel for seven years and to cripple Hamas’s military capabilities. Opponents called it a massacre, genocide and the usual hyperbolic language reserved only for Israel on the international scene.

The UN were lightning fast to react, the world was quick to condemn.  Within weeks the Goldstone Report found Israel and Hamas guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity. Israel did not co-operate but have made there own investigations and have rebutted almost every accusation in the Report and explained reasons for mistakes made in very difficult conditions. It should be noted that the UN, the UN Security Council the UN Human Rights Council, the EU, NGO’s and every tin-pot dictator in the Middle-East and beyond was also quick to condemn, in most cases BEFORE any formal investigation.

Recently, the Israelis intercepted a flotilla of Humanitarian Aid bound to break its maritime blockade of Gaza. On boarding the lead ship, the Mavi Marmara, with 600 people on board, mainly Turkish, the Israelis were attacked and then shot dead 9 ‘activists’ and wounded several others after rapelling from a helicopter carrying paintball guns. The opposing narrative says the members of the terrorist-linked IHH, who had taken over the ship, were defending themselves. Again, the world was quick to condemn, to cry ‘illegal blockade’, ‘piracy’, ‘murder’ before the facts were really known.

Now look at the case of the British Army shooting dead 13 of its own citizens at a time when (London)Derry was the centre of IRA activity which sought, by violence, to force the British government to secede Ulster (Northern Ireland) to the Irish Republic.

Just Google ‘Bloody Sunday UN’, ‘Bloody Sunday UNHRC’, ‘Bloody Sunday Security Council’. Nothing. At no time in 38 years have the UN or most of the NGO’s accused Britain of disproportionate force, murder, a crime against humanity, or war crimes. The British were left, quite rightly, to investigate themselves. And they have failed miserably in that time under successive governments, to deliver the truth, or any truly reliable definitive report until Saville, which is about to be unleashed.

In all that time successive British governments have either kicked the incident into the long grass or have exercised incredible secrecy about the ongoing investigation. The first report by Lord Widgery was considered a ‘whitewash’ of the army by none other than Tony Blair who commissioned Lord Saville in 1998. It still took 12 years in the making with 5000 pages of testimony and analysis.

Yet within weeks or days of Israel taking sovereign action against an EXTERNAL aggressor the whole world not only condemns without the facts but then demands international enquiries and sanctions. The full panoply of UN organisations and NGO’s inside and outside Israel immediately jump on Israel demanding independent enquiries with international panels.

Israel appears to be the only Western democracy deemed unable to investigate itself. There have been three Iraq war enquiries in the UK with no international members. Senate Committees in the US with no international members.

Let me repeat: 38 years after the event and 10 years after its commission, after millions of pounds spent, the events of a few hours in 1972 are about to be brought to light. 38 years. The events of weeks in Gaza take a few hundred pages and a few weeks for Goldstone to produce.

Israel has agreed to Lord Trimble, (ironically a prominent former First Minister of Northern Ireland), A Nobel Peace Prize winner and a barrister, to be one of the international observers. The other is Ken Watkin, former Judge Advocate of the Canadian Forces.

Surely, in the light of such international hostility, it is prudent for Israel to allow some form of international observation and confirmation that the procedures have been transparent. Israel will try to demonstrate that its actions were legal and necessary.

This could be a positive outcome for Israel. If Trimble and Watkin find the Israeli procedures to be transparent and Israel’s actions to be justified, albeit with a flawed tactical plan, then the true story about the flotilla and how it was hijacked by extremists will no longer just be a claim to be denied by Israel bashers.

Hamas, Israel and the Flotilla Aid

Whilst the world rushes to judgement on Israel’s interception of the Freedom Flotilla and the deaths of 9 Turkish nationals, the actual humanitarian aid languishes in Israel.


MissingPeace have just issued a report after they inspected the aid along with members of the media at the Tzifrin army base.

Their report is vital in understanding the true intentions of the Turkish organisers and also the disgusting way that the IHH hijacked the cause of the real humanitarians in the convoy.

Journalists including international news media were taken to Tzifrin on June 7th.  Only the cargo of one of the  ships was at the stage where it had been processed and unloaded and awaiting delivery.  Other ships’ cargoes had already gone through this process and 45 trucks of aid had been loaded ready to be sent, but not delivered, of which more later.

Most of the unloading of other ships was completed.

The ship in question was the Defne Y.

So you are thinking, ‘ three ships? But there were six ‘ (Rachel Corrie arrived later).  So here goes:

A breakdown of the cargo found on the ships shows that of the six ships of the flotilla only three had humanitarian aid aboard:

Gaza ship: building materials, cement, iron – The ship has not been fully unloaded.

Sofi ship:  building materials, iron

Defne Y ship: clothing, humanitarian aid (roughly 40 trucks worth), and games, building materials, wheelchairs.

The “Marmara”: carried only passengers and their personal belongings. Many passengers carried large sums of money on their body. There was no Humanitarian aid on this ship.

The other two ships did not carry humanitarian aid as well.

There were 600 people on board the Mavi Marmara, mainly Turkish, but no aid. What then, was their purpose? This was the largest boat by far. Why fill it with hundreds of people and their belongings but no aid? Why was the aid, the real aid from the Free Gaza Movement, on the small ships only? No aid whatsoever on the largest, Turkish boat. It could have taken hundreds of tonnes. Nothing. Why? Because it was never an aid ship, it was a blockade-breaking ship. It was an IHH propaganda weapon. It was a political demonstration. Well that’s fine if that is your purpose.

But this ground, the intention of the ‘activists’ [read: terrorists] who had taken over the Mavi Marmara in Istanbul and the subsequent lethal confrontation, is now the subject of an enquiry and has already been covered ad nauseam.

Let’s look at the fate of the cargo.

The humanitarian aid on all the ships was not packaged and not placed on the ship in an organized way, as one would expect from an organized humanitarian aid cargo. Everything was in individual units thrown on to a pile on the ships. This was not only unsafe, but it also caused a lot of damage to the objects, since the weight crushed a lot of things and since a lot of the things were just thrown on board.

So even where there was aid, no great care was taken. No-one thought to make use of an experienced aid agency to advise on loading. Hundreds of people gave money and aid items which were carelessly loaded. Does this tell us anything about the real priority of those involved?

And now what rogue/terrorist/racist/apartheid Israel does:

To deal with the cargo on the ships, here are the stages that it must undergo by Israel:

  1. Israel scans all the cargo and sifts out the humanitarian aid. The aid is then placed on trucks.
  2. The aid goes through x-ray machines to see that everything is indeed safe.
  3. Since nothing was packaged and organized, Israel did this.

This entire procedure costs a lot of time and a lot of money.

They actually package it up!

When asked how many tons of aid was on all the ships, the spokesman said they don’t know yet, since the only way one can weigh something is, if it’s packaged, compressed and sealed. He showed a stack of wood boxes with labels and said that this was done by Israel …

But Hamas still try to smear Israel, accusing them of taking batteries out of the electric wheelchairs (part of their excuse, no doubt for not letting the aid through).

The spokesman said that first of all, Hamas can’t know what Israel is doing because they are not allowing the aid into the Strip. Secondly, one needs to take out the batteries from the wheel chairs because if they are stored for a long time in the heat with the batteries, the batteries get ruined. He then took the journalists to the inside storage space, which is kept cool. There all the batteries were neatly placed in boxes all lined up. He said that the minute they will get a green light from Gaza, Israel can transfer everything into the Strip. Then the batteries will be transferred together with the chairs.

The batteries for the electric wheel chairs are gel batteries. Hamas says that Israel does not allow the entry of batteries into the Gaza Strip. Asked what the problem is with batteries the spokesman said the problem is not with gel but with liquid batteries.  This is because 1 liter of this battery liquid can produce 50 kilos of nitroglycerin which is an active ingredient in the manufacture of explosives, specifically dynamite.

One can’t avoid the conclusion that Hamas invented a serious need for wheelchairs specifically because they wanted the liquid batteries to make explosives and if Israel didn’t allow them in they can accuse them of callousness. But this time Hamas weren’t quite clever enough. They should have been more specific when they asked for wheelchairs.

For me the story of the wheelchairs shows exactly why there is a blockade and exactly why even items that look innocent, such as wheelchairs, have to be checked and why Israel insisted that the ships dock at Ashdod.

Some of the cargo was expired medicine and worn goods. Only 1 per cent of the goods by weight was medicine.

A Japanese reporter who visits Gaza regularly, said that what is needed in Gaza is hospital/medical equipment and medicine. He said that if the flotilla would have been really concerned about what is needed in Gaza, they would have made sure to send more medical things.

Indeed. But even these expired medicines were being stored by Israel in a cool indoor space.

And finally a complete fiasco as to what to do with the aid because Hamas refuses to accept it. Hamas says the aid is tainted by passage through Israel even though hundreds of tonnes come through via Israel every day. The other reason is that they are waiting for Turkey to decide what to do with it.

The Japanese reporter was trying to unravel the reasons for the delay in delivering this so-called vital aid.

He spoke with the PA civil-committee about this issue. They said that it is the responsibility of UNRWA. Then he called UNRWA and he was told that they are not in contact with Israel and that it is not in their power to decide, but that it is the responsibility of UNSCO.

UNRWA also said that they received a message from Hamas telling them that they should not allow any humanitarian aid from the flotilla to enter the Gaza Strip.  UNSCO also said that they are not in charge of the flotilla aid. They said that UNRWA deals with it, when confronted with the UNRWA reference to them, the man on the phone laughed and said this is not the case.

Next was COGAT, they first refused to give specific names and said “you can imagine who these international authorities are”. When pressed they said they are in touch with UNRWA, the Red Cross and “other powerful players such as the USA”, The COGAT official did not want to get more specific because he did not want to blame any particular organization until things are sorted out.  The International Red Cross in Gaza told that they have their own projects and bring in their own aid.

They said they have nothing to do with the flotilla. When asked if they have met with Hamas about the flotilla, IRC said that they have had discussions with Hamas who told them not to accept any of the aid…

… [The Japanese journalist]  said that if there is a real need for humanitarian aid in Gaza then everyone would work quickly to allow the entry of the aid into the Strip. Furthermore he said that if in Africa they need food, no one waits to deliver it.

Yet these very same international relief agencies are the first to accuse Israel of causing a humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

This is beyond belief.

Update: *See also the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs report

Flotilla: what we know and Israel’s choices

To anyone that has half an unbiased brain to think and at least one unclouded eye to see, the evidence supporting Israel’s account is mounting.

Sadly, there is now a long history of Israel’s many accounts of its actions not being accepted.

The unrelenting propaganda as well as Israel’s often lamentable ability to make its case or explain its actions mean that Israel has to change. The government must find a different way to defend Israel and one that shows up its enemies to be what they are. Israel must engage with those who claim to be its friend and let them put there actions where their mouth is.

But first, even before any investigation, internal or otherwise, is cobbled together to appease world opinion, this is my version of what happened garnered from a growing body of evidence:

Whether you like it or not and whether you think it legal or not, Israel has imposed a maritime blockade on the Gaza Strip. The single most important reason for the maritime blockade is fear of arms smuggling from Iran. Israel has repeatedly said that it will not allow Iran to have a port a few tens of kilometres from Tel Aviv. This article about the Francop shows you the size and extent of such arms smuggling. This would be considered an act of war by many countries. Note that the ship was flying the Antiguan flag. This is not an isolated case. Iran supplies Hamas through Somalia and Egypt and Hizbollah, a Hamas clone, in Lebanon via Syria.

The Free Gaza Movement and the Turkish-based IHH (both ostensibly and evidentially aid organisations) organised a flotilla, loaded it with aid and set out with the expressed intention of ‘breaking the blockade’. The delivery of aid was secondary and here’s why:

There is an impression given that Gazans are starving, but they are not. The UN claims that only between one quarter and one fifth of goods previously entering before the blockade gets through Israel’s and Egypt’s border checkpoints.

It should be noted that Egypt also imposed a ‘blockade’ and has built a 30ft deep steel barrier across its border with Gaza.

Whilst there is no doubt that Gazan’s are suffering economically, it is in the interests of Israel’s enemies to use overblown and inflammatory claims. Sometimes, the truth does get out. May I refer you to this article in the Daily Telegraph: Dispatch: Just how hungry is Gaza?

“There is no starvation in Gaza,” said Khalil Hamada, a senior official at Hamas’s ministry of justice. “No-one has died of hunger.

But it is, however, true that there is hardship. This cannot and should not be denied. What is often lacking is context and moderate language. The moral issues at stake here, and your view of them, depend on your particular bias or understanding of the conflict. You may simply hate Israel and be prepared to do anything to destroy it or to blacken its name internationally. You may support Israel and be blinkered to, or underplay, Palestinian suffering.

Given the difficulties of the Gazan people, aid organisations which support Palestinians and Gazans in particular, and reject Israel’s security concerns, have sought to make political capital by attempting to run the blockade with the express intention of breaking it. At the same time they load up their ships with aid, including food and building materials. Their mission, they believe,  is a moral one and they are motivated by their sense of outrage to pursue their goal.

Such activists have a right to protest. They can even try to break the blockade, but they know they will not be allowed to do so. They know, however, that this will be a propaganda victory. They know that the aid will still get through.

But their main motivation, as expressed many times in the recent Freedom Flotilla disaster is to break the blockade. One pebble cannot break a wall but eventually you will chip away enough to get through. It must also be said that these same people would never attempt to run a blockade by Iran or North Korea because they know they would be risking their lives. They know, if they are honest with themselves, that Israel may use force, but it will not be lethal. So why did it become lethal?

It is now becoming clear that at some point the flotilla was infiltrated by activists with links to terror and who had planned confrontation with Israeli forces. They brought on a board an assortment of knives, clubs and slingshots. They may have brought firearms, although there is no conclusive evidence. They were filmed by reporters on the boat chanting there intention to kill the Jews. They gave interviews stating it was Gaza or martyrdom. They did not care that they were about to risk the lives of hundreds of people including women and children (why would you bring children!)

Israel spent 6 hours trying to negotiate that the ships divert to Ashdod for inspection. The flotilla leaders refused. 6 hours! If they had real murderous intent they would have just sunk the ships.

Israeli commandos, include females, successfully boarded 5 of the 6 flotilla boats without encountering any resistance. There may have been some rough handling, but no-one on either side was injured. When Israel commandeered the 7th, delayed boat, the Rachel Corrie, yesterday, there was no resistance and no-one was injured.

But when the Mavi Marmara, the large lead ship, was boarded something went wrong.

Israel botched the Mavi Marmara assault. They used the wrong kind of troops and the wrong tactics. However, it is also clear, if you open your eyes even to what may be unpalatable to your viewpoint, the commandos came on board with a paintball gun and a Glock pistol. As each commando landed on the top deck wielding their paintball gun they were assaulted extremely violently with metal bars and knives. The ‘activists’ even had stun grenades, apparently.

The activists took two pistols from the Israelis and shot them. One was hit in the stomach. Another soldier was thrown over a guard rail and suffered serious head injuries. Three soldiers were taken hostage and moved below decks.

As his comrades lay on the deck injured, an Israeli Staff Sergeant dragged them to the side, stood in front of them to protect them, and took out his semi-automatic pistol.  Given the Turkish autopsy evidence, 9 ‘activists’ were then shot and killed by 30 bullets suffering shots to the legs, lower body and lethal shots to the head, including the back and side of the head. Several others were injured.

Those looking for atrocity stories and who don’t understand how lethal force is applied will see this as disproportionate. Just think. You are that Israeli. You have seen your comrades beaten unconscious and shot. There is a mob advancing on you with clubs and knives and maybe guns. Your life is in danger. You try to disable your assailant by shooting him in the leg, it’s dark and you are on a heaving ship. Some leg shots may hit the lower abdomen. He keeps coming. He is about to stab you or shoot you or beat you. You are in fear of your life. You have asked for and been given permission to use your firearm. Your training tells you you have to shoot twice in the head. You keep doing this until they stop coming. You have been joined by a comrade who is doing the same thing. 9 men are dead and your assailants stop coming at you. At last there are enough of you to take charge of the boat.

They have their victory. Israel has committed another ‘atrocity’. The IHH infiltrators, with links to terrorism have won. They have provoked the tiger. Now the lies and distortions that an all too willing world wants to hear can begin.

Claims that the Israelis opened the firing from deck or even from the helicopters do not make sense. Why fire live rounds them come down a rope with a pop-gun? If the activists were unarmed surely live rounds would have cowered them? Maybe they fired stun grenades or even tear gas, who knows. We do not even know where the dead fell and whether all casualties were on deck.

The non-Turkish flotilla leaders have not acknowledged this infiltration. They either refuse to accept the evidence either because there is some form of cognitive dissonance going on, or they are deliberately ignoring it because it doesn’t play to their political preconceptions. They have already demonised Israel and nothing Israel does in national self-defence or individual self-defence will make them tell it otherwise.

Israel must recognise that it has lost the battle for world opinion long ago. A combination of its poorly thought out strategies and its opponents successful manipulation of public opinion has turned the only redoubt of democracy in the Middle East to a pariah state with a lower standing than genocidal Iran. Israel was once surrounded by neighbouring enemies who wanted to destroy it. Now most of the world is either its enemy or wants it to give in to those who would destroy it.

Israel must now stop trying to fight battles as if it were still the 1970’s. In this century of mass communication and instant sound bites, so-called human rights and NGO’s, Israel has to be more humble and a lot cleverer; it has to be less defensive diplomatically and fight back not with weapons but with diplomacy and legal instruments. It must make the same use of international courts and UN bodies as its enemies. It has to show the world more forcefully what it is up against.

What Israel must not do is lift the maritime blockade. It should get together with its ‘friends’ and the UN and ask a simple question: how do we stop Iran arming our enemy and rebuilding its capability whilst, at the same time enabling Gazans to rebuild their broken homes and lives? How will you help us? How long will Gilad Shalit rot in some hole in Gaza (if that’s where he still is?) What pressure will the UN bring on Hamas to allow the Red Cross or the Red Crescent visit him? Where are the pro-Israel NGO’s fighting to tell Israel’s story?

Israel has to agree to some form of international enquiry not because it should but because it is diplomatically the right thing to do. This should be the start of a new strategy for Israel and its fight back in the propaganda war that could destroy it. If it stops acting as the victor and starts acting a bit more like the victim the tide could turn.

Here are links to material which support the article above.

Jerusalem Post 06/06/2010 Mercenaries aboard Gaza ship

Jerusalem Post 06/06/2010 At least 5 Mavi Marmura passengers have terror links

Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs 06/06/2010 Hamas refuses to allow flotilla aid into Gaza Strip

San Remo Manual on International Law Applicable to Armed Conflicts at Sea, 12 June 1994

For some videos see my post

All news and videos about the flotilla see

My letter to the London Evening Standard

Last week I was approached by the London Evening Standard to write a letter about the Israeli interception and boarding of the Freedom Flotilla and its aftermath.

This is what was published:

THE deaths on the Freedom Flotilla and the international outcry resulting from Israel’s interception and boarding are the result of a carefully calculated plan by the convoy’s organisers.

If they were allowed through they would have scored a victory; if they were stopped, the Israelis would undoubtedly be vilified for preventing “humanitarian aid” entering Gaza. This was a win-win situation for the organisers, the Turkish-based IHH charity which is also a covert supporter of Hamas and international terrorism.

The refusal to dock at Ashdod for inspection and the expressed intention to head for Gaza was deliberately confrontational. Israel was unaware that an ambush awaited its commandos as they landed on the lead ship.

The commandos had paintball guns and pistols and had orders only to use their weapons in extremis. Israeli video clearly shows they were attacked, beaten, stabbed, thrown over a deck rail and fired at. They were in danger of their lives.

But it is now the default position internationally to blame Israel first and let the facts be buried. Israel can no longer take any action to defend its citizens against a murderous neighbour and its fanatical supporters without international condemnation.*

*Letters to the London Evening Standard June 1st 2010

I wish I wasn’t in the middle of my day job when the request came in as the letter would have been a little diffrent, but it’s nice to be approached for your opinion.

Gaza flotilla: Israeli commando gives his account

It has taken a while but what really happened on board the Mavi Marmara is now coming to light and it is being verified by unlikely sources.

The Jerusalem Post has an interview with a Staff Sergeant who killed 6 of the 9 ‘activists’ on board the ship  and his account reveals that this was a very well rehearsed ambush by men trained in advance. The Staff Sergeant saved his own life and that of his colleagues from a baying mob of murderous terrorists who had no interest in humanitarian aid, no interest in the plight of Gazans but only a desire to kill or be killed.

You can read the full article here.

Here are the highlights:

As St-Sgt S rapelled onto the deck of the Mavi Marmara:

Looking to his side, he saw three of his commanders lying wounded – one with a gunshot wound to the stomach and another with a gunshot wound to the knee. A third was lying unconscious; his skull was fractured by a devastating blow with a metal bar.


He pushed the wounded soldiers up against the wall of the upper deck and created a perimeter of soldiers around them to begin treating their wounds, he said. He then arranged his men to form a second perimeter, and pulled out his 9 mm. Glock pistol to stave off the charging attackers and to protect his wounded comrades.

The attackers had already seized two pistols from the commandos, and fired repeatedly at them. Facing more than a dozen of the mercenaries, and convinced their lives were in danger, he and his colleagues opened fire, he said. S. singlehandedly killed six men. His colleagues killed another three.

Any enquiry must try to understand if it was necessary to kill 9 people to quell the mob. Remember this was at night on a heaving deck; the commandos had no idea how many had what weapons and subsequent revelations show that were more than justified in their actions.

… the IDF said on Thursday that the commandos were attacked by a well-trained group of mercenaries, most of whom were found without IDs but with thousands of dollars in their pockets.

The group was well trained and was split into a number of squads of about 20 mercenaries each distributed throughout the upper deck… All of the mercenaries wore gas masks and ceramic bulletproof vests and were armed with either bats, slingshots, metal bars, knives or stun grenades.

The IDF’s understanding is that the mercenaries mainly chose dual-purpose items of this sort rather than guns, since opening fire would have made it blatantly clear that they were terrorists and not so-called peace activists.


…the IDF suspects that the group did have some guns of its own. Israeli forensic experts who examined the ship found casings belonging to a weapon that was not used by the commandos, and the Turkish captain of the ship later told the IDF that the “mercenaries” threw their weapons overboard after the commandos took control of the vessel. (my emphasis)


Investigators found gun-sights and cartridge-magazines not fitting IDF weapons in a search of the ship, Israel Radio quoted IDF sources saying Friday morning.

There were stories from the activists that the commandos rapelled onto the ship already shooting from above. Physically impossible. But the IDF did say this, which might explain the stories of people all to ready to blame the Israelis for the violence:

In contrast to earlier reports, the commandos said that they began using their weapons within a minute and a half after boarding the ship, due to the extreme violence they faced. One of the reasons S. pulled out his gun right after landing on the ship was because one of the mercenaries was pointing a pistol, snatched from one of the commandos, at another commando’s head.

And, somewhat surprisingly, none other than an Al-Jazeera cameraman has supported the IDF evidence:

Andre Abu Khalil, a Lebanese cameraman for Al Jazeera TV, who was aboard the Mavi Marmara told Reuters some 20 Turkish men tried by force to prevent the boarding commandos from reaching the wheelhouse and commandeering the ship.

Using slingshots, metal pipes and wooden rods they initially succeeded in wounding and overpowering four Israeli soldiers and dragging them below decks, he told Reuters.

After a 10-minute standoff the Israelis opened fire, according to the cameraman.

The international community including the UK government conflates the fact of the interception of the flotilla with the deaths occurring on it. The Israelis may have blundered with poor intelligence but it is equally clear that they did not have any intent at violence and that the organisers of the flotilla were intent on just that. Though the deaths are regrettable, had these people not used disproportionate force , murderous intent and a wish for martydom they would be alive today.

And as for the guy who jumped to conclusions in the image above? Yeah, right.

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