Monday, May 31, 2010
I'm going out shortly and can't do a moment to moment blog on the goings on of the Gaza Flotilla freaks, but I wanted to get a few things up. Needless to say, once again, the International Solidarity Movement has more blood on its hands.
Israeli commandos descended one at a time onto one of the ships, not expecting serious resistance and armed with non-lethal weapons like paint guns. They carried pistols only as backups.
They were immediately set upon by the passengers, beaten with sticks and stabbed. The thugs on board took the soldiers' weapons -- two pistols are reported to have been recovered from the passengers. Only after the stabbing and attempt to take an IDF soldier hostage did they request and receive permission to use live fire. As you see the news footage that's been released so far, remember that the people in orange life preservers beating the other guys with sticks are the passengers. The passengers are doing the beating!
Here is the shocking footage of the stabbing which should put the lie to any idea that these are innocent peace activists:
According to the MFA:
the flotilla that was seeking to break the maritime closure on the Gaza Strip, IDF forces apprehended two violent activists holding pistols. The violent activists took these pistols from IDF forces and apparently opened fire on the soldiers as evident by the empty pistol magazines.
The IDF Spokesperson has released this statement: Demonstrators Use Violence Against Israeli Navy Soldiers Attempting to Board Ship, 31 May 2010, and this overhead video showing the extreme violence with which the IDF was faced the moment the first soldier touched down. These were NOT non-violent human rights activists they faced:
Update: From Jamil (lots of good information there), Haaretz labels this photo, "A left-wing activist on board the Gaza flotilla holding a knife after Israel Navy commandos boarded their ship on May 31, 2010." [Further update on this: Note that there has been some concern that there is some photoshopping on this pic and/or that Haaretz got the caption not quite right. It appears to have been pulled from the Haaretz site and the provenance is unknown. The knife does appear to be among those pulled from the passengers. Caveat emptor.]
Here's a must-read at YNet: A brutal ambush at sea
Ron Ben Yishai recounts bloody clash aboard Gaza-bound vessel: The lacking crowd-dispersal means, the brutal violence of 'peace activists,' and the attempt to bring down an IDF helicopter
Our Navy commandoes fell right into the hands of the Gaza mission members. A few minutes before the takeover attempt aboard the Marmara got underway, the operation commander was told that 20 people were waiting on the deck where a helicopter was to deploy the first team of the elite Flotilla 13 unit. The original plan was to disembark on the top deck, and from there rush to the vessel's bridge and order the Marmara's captain to stop.
Officials estimated that passengers will show slight resistance, and possibly minor violence; for that reason, the operation's commander decided to bring the helicopter directly above the top deck. The first rope that soldiers used in order to descend down to the ship was wrested away by activists, most of them Turks, and tied to an antenna with the hopes of bringing the chopper down. However, Flotilla 13 fighters decided to carry on.
Navy commandoes slid down to the vessel one by one, yet then the unexpected occurred: The passengers that awaited them on the deck pulled out bats, clubs, and slingshots with glass marbles, assaulting each soldier as he disembarked. The fighters were nabbed one by one and were beaten up badly, yet they attempted to fight back.
However, to their misfortune, they were only equipped with paintball rifles used to disperse minor protests, such as the ones held in Bilin. The paintballs obviously made no impression on the activists, who kept on beating the troops up and even attempted to wrest away their weapons.
One soldier who came to the aid of a comrade was captured by the rioters and sustained severe blows. The commandoes were equipped with handguns but were told they should only use them in the face of life-threatening situations. When they came down from the chopper, they kept on shouting to each other "don't shoot, don't shoot," even though they sustained numerous blows.
'I saw the tip of a rifle'
The Navy commandoes were prepared to mostly encounter political activists seeking to hold a protest, rather than trained street fighters. The soldiers were told they were to verbally convince activists who offer resistance to give up, and only then use paintballs. They were permitted to use their handguns only under extreme circumstances.
The planned rush towards the vessel's bridge became impossible, even when a second chopper was brought in with another crew of soldiers. "Throw stun grenades," shouted Flotilla 13's commander who monitored the operation. The Navy chief was not too far, on board a speedboat belonging to Flotilla 13, along with forces who attempted to climb into the back of the ship.
The forces hurled stun grenades, yet the rioters on the top deck, whose number swelled up to 30 by that time, kept on beating up about 30 commandoes who kept gliding their way one by one from the helicopter. At one point, the attackers nabbed one commando, wrested away his handgun, and threw him down from the top deck to the lower deck, 30 feet below. The soldier sustained a serious head wound and lost his consciousness.
Only after this injury did Flotilla 13 troops ask for permission to use live fire. The commander approved it: You can go ahead and fire. The soldiers pulled out their handguns and started shooting at the rioters' legs, a move that ultimately neutralized them. Meanwhile, the rioters started to fire back at the commandoes.
"I saw the tip of a rifle sticking out of the stairwell," one commando said. "He fired at us and we fired back. We didn't see if we hit him. We looked for him later but couldn't find him." Two soldiers sustained gunshot wounds to their knee and stomach after rioters apparently fired at them using guns wrested away from troops.
During the commotion, another commando was stabbed with a knife. In a later search aboard the Marmara, soldiers found caches of bats, clubs, knives, and slingshots used by the rioters ahead of the IDF takeover. It appeared the activists were well prepared for a fight.
Some passengers on the ship stood at the back and pounded the soldiers' hands as they attempted to climb on board. Only after a 30-minute shootout and brutal assaults using clubs and knifes did commandoes manage to reach the bridge and take over the Marmara.
It appears that the error in planning the operation was the estimate that passengers were indeed political activists and members of humanitarian groups who seek a political provocation, but would not resort to brutal violence. The soldiers thought they will encounter Bilin-style violence; instead, they got Bangkok. The forces that disembarked from the helicopters were few; just dozens of troops - not enough to contend with the large group awaiting them.
The second error was that commanders did not address seriously enough the fact that a group of men were expecting the soldiers on the top deck. Had they addressed this more seriously, they may have hurled tear-gas grenades and smoke grenades from the helicopter to create a screen that would have enabled them to carry out their mission, without the fighters falling right into the hands of the rioters, who severely assaulted them.
Update 2: This video shows very clearly the soldiers being instantly attacked by gas mask wearing passengers who were prepared for violence:
Here's another good page of information from the MFA: Behind the Headlines: The seizure of the Gaza flotilla. A snip:
...The intent of the militants was violent, the methods they employed were violent, and unfortunately, the result was violent.
The attack on the Israeli soldiers was premeditated. The weapons used had been prepared in advance. Huwaida Arraf, a flotilla organizer, foreshadowed the violence with her statement that: "They [the Israelis] are going to have to forcefully stop us." Bulent Yildirim, the leader of the IHH, one of the primary organizers of the flotilla, announced just prior to boarding: "We are going to resist and resistance will win." The militants whipped up the boarding crowd by chanting "Intifada, intifada, intifada!"
It should be noted that the Turkish organizing group, IHH, has a radical anti-Western orientation. Alongside its legitimate humanitarian activities, it supports radical Islamic networks such as Hamas, and at least in the past has supported global jihad elements, such as al-Qaeda...
Update: Isn't Israel violating International Law/engaging in piracy by boarding the boats? No: Int'l Law Expert Dr. Robbie Sabel: IDF action in international waters legal
Dr. Sabel explained that a state, in a time of conflict, can impose an embargo, and while it cannot carry out embargo activities in the territorial waters of a third party, it can carry out embargo activities in international waters.
Within this framework it is legal to detain a civilian vessel trying to break an embargo and if in the course of detaining the vessel, force is used against the forces carrying out the detention then that force has every right to act in self defense.
Dr. Sabel noted that there is a long history of embargo activities in international waters.
...according to the San Remo Manual, it is permissible under rule 67(a) to attack neutral vessels on the high seas when the vessels "are believed on reasonable grounds to be carrying contraband or breaching a blockade, and after prior warning they intentionally and clearly refuse to stop, or intentionally and clearly resist visit, search or capture."
Also, a blast from the past. What flotilla organizer Greta Berlin really thinks about Jews:
...On numerous occasions I heard Greta launch the insults "the god damned Israelis, and those F****** Jews" at the dinner table in front of my father (a Jew) and the few Israeli friends and relatives who ventured to visit. Additionally, any rational debate attempted by anyone with an opposing view to Greta's, was immediately terminated with the responses: "Shut up" or "You don't know what the hell you're talking about." The rebuttal usually presented in screaming form.
These comments in juxtaposition to her role as "Peace Activist" I find hard to rectify. It prompts me to ask what should be an obvious question; "At what point did terms of hate and bigotry become synonymous with Peace?"...
Also: Melanie Phillips: 'Peace convoy'? This was an Islamist terror ambush
And of course, from MEMRI: Gaza-Based Yemeni Professor Abd Al-Fatah Nu'man: As Much As the Heroes on the Flotilla Want to Reach Gaza, the Option of Martyrdom Is More Desirable to Them - Al-Aqsa TV, May 28, 2010
Video of the weapons:
By the way, anyone know how the lady at the end of this video turned out? Just wondering...
Listed below are links to blogs that reference this entry: Video: Gaza Flotilla Thugs Stab Israeli Soldiers, Use Immediate Extreme Violence (Important Updates).
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Here's another comprehensive collection of useful information regarding the Gaza Flotilla. Judging from the traffic, yesterday's posting seems to have helped a considerable number of people: Video: Gaza Flotilla Thugs Stab Israeli Soldiers, Use Immedia... Read More