Aerial footage of protesters attacking Israeli forces during flotilla raid
Activists on a six-ship flotilla headed to the Gaza Strip shouted anti-Jewish battle cries and spoke of using “resistance” against Israel, with one participant stating she saw only two possible outcomes for the boat occupants – “either martyrdom or reaching Gaza.”
Earlier today, Israeli navy commandos raided the flotilla, encountering heavy resistance and live fire from the activists. Several activists were killed and dozens of others were reportedly injured, as were several of the Israeli commandos.
The main flotilla ship was named the MV Rachel Corrie, taking on the namesake of a far-left activist from the International Solidarity Movement who died in 2003 while serving as a human shield to protect a terrorist.
An Al Jazeera news report yesterday translated by Palestinian Media Watch documented men on the flotilla chanting “[Remember] Khaibar, Khaibar, oh Jews! The army of Muhammad will return!”
That chant is often used at rallies for Hamas in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Khaibar is the name of the last Jewish village defeated by Muhammad in 628. That battle marked the end of the Jewish presence in Arabia.
Al-Jazeera also interviewed a woman on the flotilla who said that the participants’ goal was “one of two happy endings: either martyrdom or reaching Gaza.”
Al-Jazeera reported yesterday flotilla participants announced that they would use “resistance” against Israel.
One of the flotilla passengers is the former Melkite Greek archbishop of Jerusalem, Father Hilarion Capucci, who was previously arrested for using his church car service to smuggle explosives, firearms and katyusha rockets into Israel for the PLO. Capucci was freed after an appeal from the Vatican.
Israeli Naval Forces intercepted the flotilla and five other ships attempting to break the maritime closure of the Gaza Strip, a territory controlled by Hamas.
An Israel Defense Forces spokesperson told WND commandos boarded the ships after numerous warnings from Israel requesting the ships redirect toward the Israeli port of Ashdod, where they would be able to unload their aid supplies, which could then be transferred to the Gaza Strip after undergoing security inspections.
During the boarding of one of the ships, the Marmara, activists onboard attacked IDF Naval personnel with live fire and light weaponry including knives and clubs, the IDF spokesperson said.
“The demonstrators had clearly prepared their weapons in advance for this specific purpose,” said the spokesperson.
“As a result of this life-threatening and violent activity, naval forces first employed riot dispersal means, followed by live fire,” the spokesperson continued. “IDF naval personnel encountered severe violence, including use of weaponry prepared in advance in order to attack them.”
The IDF released a YouTube video clearly showing activists attacking Israeli commandos, including attacks with live fire.
In the wake of the incident, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today canceled his planned visit to Washington where he was to meet with President Obama later this week.
Netanyahu said he regretted the loss of life sustained by the international activists, but he affirmed the Israeli troops who opened fire were justified for defending themselves.
Netanyahu was in Ottawa when the incident took place early Monday and announced that he would return to Israel following his meeting with Canadian President Stephen Harper.
Despite claims by activists, Israel does not block humanitarian aids into Gaza. Israel allows a large number of trucks per day to enter Gaza with food, medicine and other humanitarian supplies. Israel transfers monthly into Gaza hundreds of millions of shekel, the local currency, to ensure the flow of cash into the territory.
Israel imposed a blockade on certain supplies it fears could be used by Hamas to build a military infrastructure.