Please TAKE ACTION and DEMAND that the United Nations launch an independent investigation into the Israeli attack against unarmed relief ships in the Freedom Flotilla. DEMAND that the international community stop simply condemning Israel's brutal and illegal blockade of Gaza - and start doing something to end it!
UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon
The United Nations, New York NY 10017
tel: +1 212 963 5012
fax: +1 212 963 2155
For three days as they were held in captivity last week and unable to speak on their own behalf, Israel presented the massacre against civilian passengers on the Mavi Marmara as self-defense against a “lynching.” Now that the passengers are returning to their home nations, the global community is hearing a much different story, not just regarding the May 31st attack but also new allegations of brutality in the treatment of several passengers afterwards once they were in custody inside Israel. Free Gaza is posting these survivor testimonies on our website, and we will continue to provide updates as more passengers share their experiences.
As the passenger accounts trickle in, survivors portray the Israeli military as using excessive and disproportionate force against activists not just on the Mavi Marmara but the other passenger ships as well. Use of tasers, electric shocks, rubber bullets and live ammunition (both on board and from the helicopter hovering above) are documented. Multiple passengers tell eyewitness accounts of soldiers refusing to allow medical treatment of injured passengers, specific and focused targeting of journalists on board and beatings of passengers after their arrival in Israel, causing at least two passengers to need hospitalization.
“Keeping passengers held in captivity so that they could not share their perspective was a deliberate attempt by Israel to cover up what really happened on the Mavi Marmara that fateful night,” notes Free Gaza co-founder Greta Berlin. “They knew what the passengers would be recounting, but they hoped that by delaying the release of their testimony until days after the immediate incident, media coverage would be buried as backpage follow-up stories or dismissed purely as old news.” She adds.
In her testimony, Annette Groth, a German Parliamentarian who was a passenger on Mavi Marmawa validates that assertion saying “The scandal is that we have to fight the Israeli images only with words. The Israelis confiscated all the activists' cameras, computers, and mobile phones.”
These accounts reveal an “alternative narrative” of the attack on the Freedom Flotilla that cannot be reconciled with the Israeli version. CONTACT Secretary General Ban Ki Moon today and DEMAND an independent investigation!
Updated survivor testimonies available here
Testimony from passengers aboard the Freedom Flotilla
Member of Parliament, Israeli Knesset
“Israel had days to plan this military operation. They wanted many deaths to terrorise us and to send a message that no future aid convoys should try to break the siege of Gaza.”
Director of campaigns and operations, PSC, United Kingdom
"I couldn't even count the amount of ships that were in the water. It was literally bristling with ships, helicopters and gunfire. It was horrific, absolutely horrific. ...Israeli forces handcuffed members of the activists' medical team who were sent to help treat the injured. It was terrifying...If you talked they pointed a gun at you. ...We wrote a sign in Hebrew saying, 'SOS! Need medical assistance. People are dying. Urgent' Hanin Zoabi, who’s a Knesset member, an Israeli Knesset member, took that sign to the front—to the back of the boat, where the soldiers were pointing at her. They ordered her to go back."
Bestselling Swedish crime author
"It was an act of piracy. We were actually kidnapped. ...On the ship I was on, they found one weapon: my razor. And they actually came up and showed it off, my razor, so you see what level this was at."
Professor Norman Paech
Member of Parliament (ret.), Germany
"We had not prepared in any way to fight. We didn't even consider it because we knew very well that we would have absolutely no chance against soldiers like this. ...The Israeli government justifies the raid because they were attacked. This is absolutely not the case."
Member of Parliament, Germany
"It was like war. They had guns, taser weapons, some type of tear gas and other weaponry, compared to two-and-a-half wooden sticks we had between us. [For Israel] to talk of self-defence is ridiculous. ...The scandal is that we have to fight the Israeli images only with words. The Israelis confiscated all the activists' cameras, computers, and mobile phones."
Brazilian Filmmaker (based in San Francisco)
"(The attack) was a surprise, because it happened in the middle of the night, in the darkness, in international waters, because we knew there would be a confrontation but not in international waters. Their first tactic was to cut all of our satellite communications and then they attacked. All I witnessed first hand was the shooting. They came on board and started shooting at people. ...We expected them to shoot people in the legs, to shoot in the air, just to scare people, but they were direct. Some of them shot in the passengers' heads. Many people were murdered – it was unimaginable."
Journalist from Al Jazeera
"...as this attack started I was on the top deck and within just a few minutes there were live shots being fired from above the ship from above from where the helicopters were. The first shots that were fired were some sort of sound grenades. There was some tear gas that was fired as well as rubber coated steel bullets. They were fired initially and the live bullets came roughly about five minutes after that, after those initial shots were fired.
"There was definitely fire from the air because one of the people who was killed was clearly shot from above. He was...the bullet targeted him at the top of his head. There was also fire coming from the sea as well. Most of the fire initially from the sea was tear gas canisters and sound grenades. But then it became live fire. There is no doubt from what I saw that live ammunition was fired before any Israeli soldier was on deck.
"[From the top deck] you could almost see the soldiers pointing their guns down through some sort of hole or compartment at the bottom side of the helicopter, firing almost indiscriminately without even looking where they were firing and those bullets were definitely live bullets. There was a Knesset member who approached the Israeli soldiers saying we have injured, she was saying they have injured people, please come and take them. Yet the Israelis refused. Three hours later all three of those people that were injured ended up dying on the spot because no one came to take them."
2 days ago