Israel tasered Gaza flotilla acitivists: witness

Al-Akhbar is currently going through a transitional phase whereby the English website is available for Archival purposes only. All new content will be published in Arabic on the main website (www.al-akhbar.com).

Al-Akhbar Management

Published Sunday, October 21, 2012

Israeli soldiers that blocked a Finish vessel from breaking the siege on Gaza allegedly tasered activists to take control of the boat, an Israeli news site reported today.

Ynet said it had learned that Yonatan Shapira, an Israeli on board the Gaza-bound Estelle, told his mother that the soldiers attacked him and other pro-Palestinian activists in an attempt to overpower them.

Shapira called his mother from inside an Israeli police station were he was being detained.

"Yonatan said that they were tasered in their legs and arms… It's horrible, but he sounds calm," Zvia Shapira, his mother, said.

The soldiers who took over the ship were masked, according to Mikael Loffgren, Estelle's media coordinator.

The Israeli military denies attacking the ship, which was carrying 30 international activists, including five European lawmakers from Spain, Sweden, Greece and Norway.

They were attempting to deliver humanitarian supplies to the coastal enclave in defiance of Israeli warnings against breaking the blockade which has been imposed since 2007.

The Estelle is a part of the Free Gaza Movement, which is dedicated to breaking the blockade, notably through sea channels with the Freedom Flotilla Coalition.

The first Freedom Flotilla in May 2010 ended in tragedy when nine Turkish nationals were killed by Israeli commandos who boarded the Turkish-flagged Mavi Marmara, the lead ship, as it tried to break through the blockade.

Some were shot at point-blank range, according to Turkish investigations.

A second attempt to break the blockade in mid-2011 with a coalition of ships setting sail from Athens failed after Greek authorities intercepted the boats, banning their departure and towing back into port those who tried to leave.

Last week, a declassified document revealed that Israel had put Gaza on steady diet during the most violent stages of its siege between 2005 and 2008.

Ostensibly to avoid malnutrition in the strip, Israel's Health Ministry devised a nutritional "red line," a minimal calorie intake the Israeli army would guarantee as it cut imports to Gaza by nearly 75 percent.

The siege continues to leave the strip in economic tatters, with unemployment running rampant, and some resorting desperately to self-immolation in recent weeks to protest rapidly declining living conditions.

The Estelle set off originally from Sweden and arrived in the Gulf of Naples on October 4 after a tour of Europe, including Finland, France and Spain.

(Al-Akhbar, AFP)

Comments

Strange when Isreali spokesmen says it was a peaceful takeover without anyone being hurt and resisting. Which would it have been?

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