Israeli High Seas Piracy and Brutality

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Israeli High Seas Piracy and Brutality

by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.orgHome – Stephen Lendman)

Israel holds two million Gazans hostage to its viciousness, suffocating them under militarized blockade – terror-bombing and otherwise attacking them with impunity.

Attempts by activists to deliver humanitarian aid are prevented by brute force. Heavily armed soldiers attack them.

The world community is silent about Israeli high seas piracy and brutality, largely ignoring over 11 years of illegal blockade – failing to hold the Netanyahu regime accountable for horrific high crimes of war and against humanity.

Activist orthopedic and trauma consultant surgeon Dr. Swee Ang co-founded Medical Aid for Palestinians.

She witnessed Israeli brutality firsthand onboard the Freedom Flotilla Coalition Norweigan flag Al Awda humanitarian ship to Gaza – risking her life to aid beleaguered Palestinians held hostage under concentration camp conditions.

She accompanied 21 others from 16 countries onboard the Freedom Flotilla Coalion Al Awda vessel to Gaza. 

On July 29, Israeli warships interdicted them in international waters – passengers kidnapped, their vessel hijacked, an act of savagery, an Israeli specialty repeated time and again.

Ang recounted the brutality she and others onboard endured after being accosted by Israeli forces, a harrowing experience no one should have to tolerate.

In international waters 42 nautical miles from Gaza, they were falsely accused of trespassing in Israeli waters before forcibly interdicted by three Israeli warships and five zodiac speed boats.

Soldiers onboard were heavily armed with machine guns, masked to disguise their identity, small cameras strapped to their chests – recording what they wanted viewed, brutality on activists edited out.

Some were beaten, others tasered. Mike (no last name given) was tasered in lower limbs, neck and face.

Bleeding on the left side of his face, he was “semi-conscious” when Swee Ang examined him.

Soldiers broke into the wheel house, “took down the Palestine flag before taking down the Norwegian flag and trampling on it,” she explained.

Activists were abusively, “throw(n) to the rear of the deck,” kept them there under armed guard.

Everyone was abusively body-searched – forced to surrender cell phones, passports, wallets, credit cards, medicines, and other possessions, their hands then painfully bound from behind.

Vessel captain Herman was beaten and thrown against the wheel house wall. “(H)e was in great pain, silent but conscious, breathing spontaneously but shallow breathing,” Ang explained.

She and others had nothing to eat for 24 hours, their food seized. They refused Israeli army food, Ang saying “we had decided we do not accept Israeli hypocrisy and charity” after being forcefully interdicted and abused.

After disembarking in Israel’s Ashdod port city, “we came off the boat chanting ‘Free Free Palestine…fill(ing) the night sky of Israel with Free Free Palestine,’ ” Ang explained, adding:

A “closed military zone in Ashdod…was specially prepared for the 22 of us…a sealed off area.”

They were x-rayed, “strip-searched several times,” all their possessions seized except the clothes they wore.

Ang explained she “was cold and hungry, wearing only one teeshirt and pants by the time they were through with me. My food was taken away. Water was taken away, all belongings including reading glasses taken away. My bladder was about to explode but I am not allowed to go to the toilet.”

Suitcases of activists were broken into and ransacked, most everything in them confiscated. “I was not expecting the Israeli army to be petty thieves” along with brutalizing, intimidating and humiliating activists on board.

They were taken to Givon prison, x-rayed and strip-searched again, then taken to a “rusty and dusty” cell.

“The jailers were very hostile using simple things like refusal of toilet paper and constant slamming of the prison iron door, keeping the light of the cell permanently on, and forcing us to drink rusty water from the tap, screaming and shouting at us constantly to vent their anger at us…treat(ing) us with utter contempt,” said Ang.

Larry was ill “in great pain,” Ang denied permission to see him, medical care denied him for “about 10 hours (before he) was sent straight to the hospital.”

Groups of activists were separated from each other, some sent to Ramle prison, virtually all their belongings stolen.

Ang said she and five other women on board were “completely humiliat(ed) and dehuminize(d) every way possible.”

If they were Palestinians, it would have been much worse, she understood, some perhaps killed, other detained indefinitely and more grievously abused than foreign activists.

“This massive attack on an unarmed Freedom Flotilla bringing friends and some medical relief is an attempt to crush all hope for Gaza,” said Ang, adding:

“(W)e will not stop. We must continue to be strong to bring hope and justice to the Palestinians and be prepared to pay the price, and to be worthy of the Palestinians. As long as I survive I will exist to resist.”

“To do less will be a crime.”

Ang, others onboard, and previous freedom flotilla activists risked life and limb to try breaking Israel’s barbaric blockade symbolically.

They deserve high praise for putting their bodies in harm’s way to try aiding beleaguered Gazans – held hostage by Israeli viciousness, then deported.

Read Ang’s full account of what she and other activists endured on board the Freedom Flotilla Coalition Al Awda vessel to Gaza.

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Stephen Lendman
Stephen Lendman
Stephen Lendman was born in 1934 in Boston, MA. In 1956, he received a BA from Harvard University. Two years of US Army service followed, then an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1960. After working seven years as a marketing research analyst, he joined the Lendman Group family business in 1967. He remained there until retiring at year end 1999. Writing on major world and national issues began in summer 2005. In early 2007, radio hosting followed. Lendman now hosts the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network three times weekly. Distinguished guests are featured. Listen live or archived. Major world and national issues are discussed. Lendman is a 2008 Project Censored winner and 2011 Mexican Journalists Club international journalism award recipient.