This post will be on top all day as we follow the Flotilla Terrorists and the IDF response. Refresh your browser and visit us often for updates around the clock.
9:10 PM Channel 1 reporting. 50 flotilla terrorists turn out to be suspected Al Qaeda mercenaries. Over $1 million dollars in cash found on the boat.
8:46 PM Israel TV reports that some of the flotilla terrorists were equipped with night vision equipment and ceramic vests.
8:24 PM Newly released IDF Spokesman Video/Audio (like 5 minutes ago!) of soldiers being attacked when they boarded Flotilla ships.
8:13 PM The MV Rachel Corrie is on its way to Gaza from Malta....how appropriate.
Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen described the vessel as Irish-owned and said it should be allowed to finish its mission. The ship was carrying 15 activists including a northern Irish Nobel Peace laureate. "The government has formally requested the Israeli government to allow the Irish-owned ship ... to be allowed to complete its journey unimpeded and discharge its humanitarian cargo in Gaza," Cowen told parliament in Dublin. (Reuters)
8:11 PM There have been pro-IDF demonstrations around the country over the past 2 hours (though unfortunately, not at Ariel, as some readers found out)
5:31 PM Did the Israeli Defense Forces Commandos Commit “Piracy”? Nope.
I tread warily into the debate over the Israeli commando raid on the Gaza flotilla. There has been no shortage of commentary and reactions abroad (here in the U.S., it seems most folks are unmoved by the whole incident). Of course, most of the facts are hotly disputed and, frankly, will remain hotly disputed. Still, let me start by advising IDF critics to drop the silly accusation that Israel committed “piracy,” which various folks have made here, here, and here. [Jameel; the following sentence is irrelevant because of the rest of the article which stands on its own merit] The IDF raid may well have violated international law governing disproportionate and excessive use of force against non-combatants (although the IDF claims their commandos were armed only with paintball guns). But whatever can be said about the legality of the raid, it was not, as a legal matter, piracy. Let’s go to the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea, Article 101:
Great article here.Piracy consists of any of the following acts:(a) any illegal acts of violence or detention, or any act of depredation, committed for private ends by the crew or the passengers of a private ship or a private aircraft, and directed:(i) on the high seas, against another ship or aircraft, or against persons or property on board such ship or aircraft;(ii) against a ship, aircraft, persons or property in a place outside the jurisdiction of any State;(b) any act of voluntary participation in the operation of a ship or of an aircraft with knowledge of facts making it a pirate ship or aircraft;
5:21 PM Own a boat, yacht, jetski or you can row pretty well?
The pro-Israel flotilla project is underway -- this coming Friday is the salute to IDF, pro-Israel flotilla. More details on their facebook page.
4:54 PM Who's Who on the Flotilla Passenger List?
Israeli officials said that about 50 of the 671 activists have been taken to Israel’s international airport for deportation. They say others have refused to identify themselves and will remain in detention.
So who are the lucky passengers? Lets take a look...
Henning Mankell, 62, Swedish author of the Inspector Wallander books. He was on board with eight other Swedes and had still not been contacted last night. Mankell is married to the daughter of the film maker Ingmar Bergman.
Anders Joerle, the Swedish Foreign Ministry spokesman, said that they were not all being held at the same place and some had been imprisoned while others had simply been taken into custody. “I think Henning Mankell is just being held in custody. I’m not sure. The Israelis have him in some kind of detention,” he said.
Some of the Swedes had been very slightly injured, Mr Joerle said. They have reportedly been given the choice between accepting deportation or to be tried in an Israeli court.
The former US Ambassador
Edward Peck, 81, a former US Ambassador to Mauritania, was expected to arrive home today after the Free Palestine movement ship that he was on was seized by Israeli commandos.
Ann Peck, his wife, said that she received a brief e-mail from the Israeli Foreign Ministry yewsterday informing her that her husband was fine and on his way home. The e-mail said he was likely to arrive today, but that did not have a mobile phone with him and would call from an unnamed New York airport when he landed, she said.
“He gets himself into these messes, and the phone is going to ring,” she joked.
Mrs Peck said that as of yesterday evening she had not spoken to US officials, nor had she been able to talk to her husband, since the raid. She had last spoke with him briefly by satellite phone just as the aid ships were leaving their rendezvous point.
“Knowing him I doubt there are regrets,” she said. “I think he was really hopeful of it making a difference.”
Mr Pek served as deputy director in President Reagan’s White House Task Force on Terrorism.
Joe Meadors, 63, of Texas, is a navy veteran. His wife Jean said yesterday evening that she believed he was safe, “but I’d like to hear that from him”.
She said his exact status, whether under arrest, detention or otherwise, was unclear.
Mr Meadors served aboard the US Navy intelligence ship USS Liberty that was attacked by Israeli forces in 1967, killing 34 crew members.
“He hasn’t had much luck with the Israelis,” his wife said.
David Schermerhorn, retired television commercial producer of Washington state, was also on the flotilla as an activist with the Cyprus-based Free Gaza Movement, his daughter told The Seattle Times.
Kate Schermerhorn said US Embassy officials had told her that the 80-year-old was taken into custody by Israeli officials and was unharmed.
Three German MPs and a Swedish MP were among those heading to Gaza with aid.
Peter Venner, 63, a father of two from the Isle of Wight. He runs a wood yard and became involved in delivering aid to the Palestinians three years ago and last January drove a truck full of humanitarian supplies overland to Gaza. This was his first journey by sea.
His partner Rachel Bridgeland, 51, told the Daily Mail: “Peter is definitely not a violent man — in fact he is exactly the opposite. The last time I heard from him was Saturday. He was in high spirits. He told me he knew the Israelis would try and stop them. But no one knew it was going to be like this.
“I do not know what has happened to him. I am desperately worried that he may have come to harm.”
Denis Healey, 55, from Portsmouth, was the skipper of the Challenger 1 boat that carried 20 passengers including three German MPs, a Swedish MP and a former US colonel.
He has a longstanding involvement in the Palestinian movement and has captained boats on previous aid journeys into Gaza, including one two years ago in which the boat was rammed by an Israeli gunboat.
He is a marine engineer and now lives in the Cypriot port of Limassol with his British partner, Ruth Baker.
Paveen Yaqub, 39, from Huddersfield is a council worker and was on board Mavi Marmara, the lead boat in the flotilla.
The last message Paveen wrote on her Facebook yesterday read: “Something has kicked off; I gotta run up deck.”
Minutes later she wrote: “We are now surrounded by Israeli warships with helicopters circulating and following the convoy of ships heading for Gaza still. “We will not be stopping unless we are forcibly made to do so.”
Some of these people are simply foolish, eccentric, useful idiots who ended up on a boat ride they mistakenly assumed was a cruise trip of the Mediterranean.
See the whole list here at the UK TIMES ON LINE.
4:40 PM IDF Soldier's Testimony:
"They wielded clubs, axes and knives," he said. "I was the second to go down the cable, one of the guys from my group was already down there, and there were a few people on him. At first it was one-on-one, until more soldiers came down."
Regarding the troops' preparation for a more extreme scenario on the decks, R said they had prepared for both passive and violent resistance, but admitted he had been surprised by the strength of the resistance.
"We knew they were peace activists," he said. "Though they wanted to break the Gaza blockade, we thought we'd encounter passive resistance, perhaps verbal resistance – we didn't expect this. Everyone wanted to kill us. We encountered terrorists who wanted to kill us and we did everything we could to prevent unnecessary injury."
R said that some 75% of the people in the vessel resisted violently, "each one with a knife in his hand."
R. was the soldier who was thrown from the deck, as shown in the footage distributed by the IDF. "I was in front of a number of people with knives and clubs. I cocked my weapon when I saw that one was coming towards me with a knife drawn and I fired once. Then another 20 people came at me from all directions and threw me down to the deck below."
"Then I felt a stabbing in my stomach. It was a knife. I got the knife out, then somehow got down to the lower deck where there were more people. This was when the soldiers had got control of all the boat except the lower deck. Me and another soldier managed to get to the deck, and we jumped into the water, from where our forces collected us. Another soldier who was beaten hard lost consciousness. Other soldiers covered him until we managed to get him out." Read it all here.
4:38 PM Minutes ago, it appears an IDF missile hit near "Beit Lehiya" in the Northern Gaza Strip, targetting a Palestinian Qassam rocket crew who were preparing to fire on Israel. Palestinian sources report many killed, but as of now, none have been confirmed.
4:03 PM Video; Palestinians arrive in Jerusalem's Meah Shearim neighborhood for a demonstration.
2:45 PM 2 rockets land in open areas near Ashkelon. No injuries or damage reported.
2:41 PM "Color red" rocket warning system blaring in Zikim (North of Gaza Strip).
2:29 PM Arabs in the Shimon HaTzadik (Sheikh Jarrakh) neighborhood in Eastern Jerusalem -- opposite Jewish homes, display Turkish flags in solidarity with the Flotilla terrorists.
1:27 PM Professor Richard Landes: When an army that is vastly superior, but neither wants to be killed nor kill, meets an vastly inferior enemy who wants to kill and be killed, it behooves both participants and observers to understand why things go awry.
1:17 PM IDF soldier -- victim of brutal "peace activist" terror.
12:56 PM IDF Spokesman Blog posts new photos of weapons found aboard flotilla ships.
12:51 PM This morning, the IDF had to "face the music" at a meeting with a Knesset Defense subcommittee.
Two main points: The IDF is prepared for 2 more ships which are on their way from Turkey and should be arriving in our area within the next 48 hours.
Secondly, YNET reports; "Head of the General Staff's Operations Division Colonel Itzik Turgeman told a Knesset committee that the option of taking over the aid ship en route to Gaza was chosen after other options were ruled out, including the possibility of stopping the flotilla via other means.
He said it was impossible to stop the Marmara ship due to its size, strength and speed. He said the option of disabling its motors was ruled out because the time required to haul the ship to the shore would have been too long. He added that the two firearms found on the deck of the ship did not have bullets in them, since they had been fired. (Ronen Medzini)"
Kiryat Shmona: Next to Egged Bus station
Teveriya: Lev HaGalil building
Hadia: Bat-Galim train station
Hadera: "kikar hadera" intersection
Afula: Next to Egged Bus station
Jordan Valley Highway 90: Hakibutzim intersection
Beit Shean: Binyamin Mall
Netanya: Coastal Road Netanya Interchange
Krayot: Tzabar intersection
Nahariya: Next to train station
Raanana: Tzomet Raanana, merkaz.
Bar Ilan University pedestrian bridge over highway 4.
Tel-Aviv'; Azreili Mall
Modi'in; Tzomet Shilat
Beit Shemesh: Tzomet "BIG"
Gush Etzion: Tzomet HaGush in the roundabout
Bat Yam: Next to Abarbanel Hospital
Ashdod: "Ad Halom" bridge
Ashkelon: Tzomet Ashkelon
Ariel: Next to the University
Ramat HaSharon: Kfar HaYarok intersection
Maalot: entrance to town
Jerusalem: Main entrance
Rishon LTzion: Rishon intersection
Sederot: Next to the shuk
Netivot: City Hall
Ofakim: Entrance to city
Kiryat Melachi: Kastina Interchange
Rechovot: Tzomet Bilu
Eilat: Next to shopping center.
If you can take photos of these, or any any pro-Israel demonstrations around the world -- please send them here for publication!
10:47 AM Released for Video testimony from IDF soldier, subtitled in English.
10:18 AM Refuah Shleimah to all our brave soldiers injured yesterday.
10:14 AM The IDF has video information in realtime. They could have released (or authorized the release) and showed the Flotilla terrorists' violence hours earlier when it would have been even more effective. Why the delay? Speed it up guys!
9:57 AM The 2 Gaza terrorists were killed.
9:38 AM 2 Peace Loving terrorists from Gaza are involved in a firefight with IDF troops at this time.
Earlier, Residents of four communities in the Eshkol region were instructed to remain indoors, due to a possible terrorist infiltration. Some of the roads in the area were also closed to traffic.
Two figures were reportedly seen crossing the security fence in the region. The IDF was combing the area for suspect (ynet)
9:35 AM Israel Reshet Bet Radio reports this morning that a new Flotilla Terror Convoy is due to arrive at Israel in the next 24-48 hours from Turkey.
9:32 AM The following is a speech by Jonathan Hoffman to the Israel Support Rally at Downing Street in London, on May 31, 2010. (Here)
8:56 AM Photos from last night's pro-Israel demonstration outside the Turkish embassy in Tel Aviv.
8:00 AM Good morning and welcome back.
We have a lot of flotilla related photo, videos, and more which we plan to release on the blog today as soon as we get authorization and permission.
A reminder to all you pro-Israel twitterers. Make sure you include #Flotilla, #FreedomFlotilla and #Gaza in your tweets. It's driving the Flotilla terrorists nuts that links to photos and videos they don't want anyone to see or know about are coming up on top of twitter searches. We've gotten some very nasty feedback telling us its working well. Kol Hakavod to everyone.
At some point in the week (if we're not too busy) we hope to post our analysis of the successful operation to stop the Flotilla. We've noticed from other comments/posts on the internet that some people (Leftists particularly) see the world in black and white and really don't understand the complexity and background of what happened yesterday politically and militarily. They simply, in their knee-jerk fashion, believe Israel was either wrong or acted incorrectly. We have no hope for them. This analysis will be for everyone else.
And don't forget to repost the picture of the Flotilla's unarmed, peaceful humanitarian aid worker. A picture really is worth a 1000 words.
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