I’ve been dying to hear eye-witness reports of what happened on the flotilla from someone other than Israeli Defense Forces. Little by little, the accounts are starting to come out. But, it looks like the IDF confiscated as many cameras as they could find and photographic evidence is not very forthcoming. However, here are a few of the accounts I’m finding so far, first from Norman Paech:
But a group of German witnesses who experienced the assault first hand before being detained and deported denied anyone on board was armed with more than a few wooden sticks.
“Personally I saw two and a half wooden batons that were used … There was really nothing else. We never saw any knives,” Norman Paech, a 72-year-old former member of parliament told reporters in Berlin.
“The Israeli government justifies the raid because they were attacked. This is absolutely not the case,” said Paech, wrapped in a blue blanket and visibly shaken by the bloody outcome to the mission
“This was not an act of self-defence.”
Paech, a former MP from the far-left Die Linke party, said he took photographic evidence but that his camera had been confiscated.
He denied Israel’s suggestion that passengers had been lying in ambush.
“We had not prepared in any way to fight. We didn’t even consider it,” he added. “No violence, no resistance — because we knew very well that we would have absolutely no chance against soldiers like this.
“This was an attack in international waters on a peaceful mission… This was a clear act of piracy,” he added.
And from 2 other German MP’s:
The former MP’s comments were backed up by two others on board the convoy, MPs Inge Hoeger, 59, and Annette Groth, 56.
“We felt like we were in a war, like we were being kidnapped,” Hoeger said. “Nobody had a weapon.”
From a Greek citizen aboard one of the ships:
A Greek activist on one of the smaller boats, the Eleftheri Mesogeio, said Israeli troops used rubber bullets, tear gas and electroshock weapons to subdue those aboard.
Commandos jumped onto the ship at around 0530 GMT, an hour after the clashes on the Mavi Marmara, he said.
“They fired rubber coated bullets, tear gas and then used electroshock weapons on some activists,” he told Skai television after Israel deported him and five compatriots to Athens.
And from a frenchman:
A Frenchman detained on another of the six ships told reporters his fellow passengers offered no resistance to arrest.
“The instructions were clear. Do not provoke, remain calm and go to meet them (the commandos) saying ‘We are pacifists and not terrorists’,” Youssef Benderbal said after arriving at a Paris airport.
“Masked commandos took possession of the ship. They were aiming for the captain’s cabin,” said Benderbal, a member of a French aid group for Palestinians.
From another Greek man:
The Greek passenger Grigoropoulos said he was kept incommunicado in “wretched detention conditions” at the Israeli port of Ashdod, denied access to a lawyer and made to sign papers he did not understand.
He also said “two Greek activists were beaten up” there by Israeli police.
Notice how their accounts sound so foreign from the official account of the Israeli Defense Forces. A common thing for anyone who has been keeping track of Israeli attacks on Palestinians where Palestinians tell of how they had the crap beaten out of them and the unharmed Israeli soldiers say they were only acting in self-defense or some other sort of hogwash.
Also, as Turkey’s Erdogan has stated, the US needs to come out with a harsher statement against Israel’s aggression against peace activists than Obama’s weakly expressed regret for loss of life.
We can only hope that a truly impartial investigation can take place of this massacre. Any investigation done by Israel of it’s own actions should be rejected as it is common sense in the real world that such investigations are not impartial… but for some reason, we have organizations such as the CIA investigating itself and think it is ok. Send someone from Norway or China in to investigate. Let’s hear the real story, though those of us familiar with Israel’s heavy-handed techniques already know what happened.