Irish human rights defenders kidnapped in act of Israeli piracy

Irish Ship To Gaza crew and passengers in Dublin Airport, on their return from illegal Israeli captivity

Irish human rights defenders kidnapped in act of Israeli piracy
LookLeft #9, December 2011

On the morning of Friday 4th November, Israeli military forces violently intercepted two boats, Irish and Canadian, which were attempting the break the illegal Israeli siege on 1.6 million people in Gaza. The ships, Saoirse and Tahrir, carrying $30,000 worth of medical supplies were in international waters around 80km from their destination when the assault took place.

Fintan Lane, who was on board the Saoirse, described the “violent and dangerous” takeover saying, “it began with Israeli forces hosing down the boats with water cannon and pointing guns at us. I was hosed down the stairs of the boat. The bridge nearly caught fire and the boats were corralled to such an extent that the Irish and Canadian boats collided and nearly sank”.

The passengers were then taken against their will to Israel, removed from the boats in “in a violent manner” and detained in prison for a week. All their property was taken, and none of the electronic equipment – including an EU Parliament laptop belonging to MEP Paul Murphy – has been returned.

Murphy described the conditions in prison as “very poor”, with “conscious sleep deprivation” and “being locked up 21 hours a day”. For Murphy, this was “a glimpse of the conditions faced by many Palestinians, particularly those in the open air prison camp of Gaza”. “We were fortunate to have running water, unlike 100,000 Palestinians in Gaza”, he said.

This sentiment was echoed by former Leinster and Ireland rugby star Trevor Hogan, who felt that, “what we went through is only a fraction of what Palestinians have to go through. I hope Israel would use its power to end this injustice, but until that happens I think people will continue to call for this siege to end and should do whatever they can to lift it”.

Eventually, after a week, all 14 Irish citizens and the 13 internationals on board the Tahrir were deported by the Israeli authorities from a country they had no intention of entering.

This was the first in a series of planned Freedom Waves to Gaza, aimed at highlighting the terrible conditions in Gaza as a result of Israel’s five-year-old siege, and came after a call from 46 civil society organisations in Palestine. Due to fears of physical and/or diplomatic sabotage, as happened the Freedom Flotilla in June, the date of the next Freedom Wave is a closely guarded secret, though it will sail in the new year.

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Explore posts in the same categories: apartheid, apartheid israel, bds, boycott, dublin, Flotilla, gaza, IPSC, Ireland, Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Irish Government, israel, lookleft, palestine, zionism

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