May 31, 2010
Late last night, Israel attacked a flotilla of ships in international waters carrying food, medicine and other aid to Gaza, killing at least 10 civilians on board and injuring at least 30 more (many reports
now put the numbers at 19 dead and 60 injured). The Israeli Defense
Forces is claiming that its soldiers were attacked with clubs, knives
and "handguns" when they boarded the ship without permission, but none
of the Israeli soldiers were killed while two are reported injured.
Those on the ships emphatically state that the IDF came on board shooting (though see this video and discussion here, as well as this). An IDF spokesman said: "Our initial findings show that at least 10 convoy participants were killed."
six-ship flotilla was carrying 10,000 tons of humanitarian aid along
with 600 people, all civilians, which included 1976 Nobel Peace Prize
laureate Mairead Corrigan Maguire of Northern Ireland and European
legislators; an elderly Holocaust survivor, Hedy Epstein, 85,
was scheduled to be among those on the ship but remained in Cyprus. In
December, 2008, Israel, citing rocket attacks from Hamas, launched a
22-day, barbaric attack on Gaza, bombarding a trapped population,
killing hundreds of innocent civilians (1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis were killed), and devastating Gazan society. A U.N. report released earlier this month
documented that, as a result of the blockade imposed on Gaza by Israel
and Egypt (the two largest recipients of U.S. aid), "[m]ost of the
property and infrastructure damaged . . . was still unrepaired 12
The flotilla attacked by Israel
last night was carrying materials such as cement, water purifiers, and
other building materials, much of which Israel refuses to let pass into
Gaza. At the end of 2009, a U.N. report found
that "insufficient food and medicine is reaching Gazans, producing a
further deterioration of the mental and physical health of the entire
civilian population since Israel launched Operation Cast Lead against
the territory," and also "blamed the blockade for continued breakdowns
of the electricity and sanitation systems due to the Israeli refusal to
let spare parts needed for repair get through the crossings."
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