USC Students for Justice in Palestine

history, analysis, news, and event updates on the struggle for justice in palestine

“Israeli Military Retracts Claim Passengers ‘Al Qaeda Mercenaries'”

Posted by uscsjp on June 4, 2010

“MV Rachel Corrie Continues Aid Mission to Gaza

The Free Gaza Movement’s remaining humanitarian aid ship is expected to reach the Gaza coastline in the next day. The MV Rachel Corrie is continuing its mission in the face of Israeli vows to thwart its passage following the attack on the other six ships in the Freedom Flotilla earlier this week. Named after the slain US peace activist, passengers aboard the Rachel Corrie include Irish Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mairead Maguire and former United Nations deputy secretary-general Denis Halliday.

Thousands Mourn Turkish Victims of Flotilla Attack

Up to 20,000 people gathered in Istanbul on Thursday to pay tribute to the nine activists killed in the attack. The coffins were carried through central Istanbul draped in Turkish and Palestinian flags. The youngest of the nine victims was nineteen-year-old US citizen Furkan Dogan. Dogan was born in Troy, New York and moved to Turkey when he was two years old. An autopsy showed he was shot at close range, once in the chest and four times in the head.

Passenger: Israeli Troops Fired at Unarmed Passengers, Ignored SOS Calls

As the dead are laid to rest, survivors of the flotilla attack continue to speak out about the assault on the Mavi Marmara. After returning to London, British peace activist and flotilla passenger Sarah Colborne said Israeli troops ignored SOS calls from the passengers aboard the ship.

Sarah Colborne: ‘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.’

Colborne says she also witnessed Israeli troops shooting unarmed passengers and handcuffing medics accompanying the aid mission.

Israeli Military Retracts Claim Passengers ‘Al Qaeda Mercenaries’

The Israeli military, meanwhile, has been forced to retract its claim that passengers aboard the flotilla were agents of al-Qaeda. An Israel Defense Forces press release sent out two days after the assault says approximately forty flotilla passengers ‘are mercenaries belonging to the Al Qaeda terror organization.’ The independent journalist Max Blumenthal says both he and an Israeli colleague asked the Israeli military press office to substantiate its claim. No evidence was provided, and one day later the press released was modified. The original headline was changed from ‘Attackers of the IDF Soldiers Found to be Al Qaeda Mercenaries’ to ‘Attackers of the IDF Soldiers Found Without Identification Papers.’ Commenting on the retraction, Blumenthal writes, ‘The more Israel’s claims about the flotilla’s terrorist links are challenged, the more they fall apart’…”

–Democracy Now!, 4 June, 2010

See Democracy Now’s “Israel-Palestine” Page for Background and Latest Updates


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