“I felt that I would not get out alive from Flotilla of humanitarian ships. It was possible to stop the fleet, but not in this way with the use of military brutality, weapons and the horrific attack on over 600 participants in the campaign, who all were civilians, parliamentarians, peace activists” said Haneen Zaubi, the Arab-Israeli Knesset member from National Democratic Alliance who was on one of the ships during the Israeli maritime piracy operation against the International peace activists on their way to break the genocidal siege imposed on Gaza. The remarks of Al-Zaubi came during a press conference hold in Nazareth after her release from the Ashdod detention center where she spent the last night under interrogation by the Israeli intelligence.
Al-Zaubi confirmed that the fire on the passengers on the ship Marmara began before the Israeli navy commandos landed on the ship and before any contact between soldiers and the passengers of the ship. She added: “two of the wounded bled to death as a result of not receiving medical assistance, despite my persistent calls for medical treatment”.
She said that it was expected that the ship would be stopped, but it was not expected it would be with the giant numbers of military, the excessive brutality the massive weaponry used in this terrible attack on the 600 participants in the campaign. They were civilians, parliamentarians, peace activists had been dealt by Israel since the start of the fleet as “terrorists “in order to justify aggression against them.
Al- Zaubi stressed that the attack took place on the ship in international waters, at a distance of 130 miles from the coast, at around quarter past fourth early at dawn. She pointed out that the campaign organizers had asked the passengers to wear life jackets, but that the commandos landing started out very fast. In less than 10 minutes there were already 3 dead and dozens wounded. “The goal of the operations was to create an atmosphere of terror and fear among us. A participant raised a white flag. There were sufficient indications that we do not want any confrontation. And after that we were almost certain that a confrontation would not happen I felt that we were in danger and that I would not get alive from the ship. There was no provocation and the Israeli narrative spoke about provocation, but the truth is that there were people afraid for the safety of passengers, and the organizers gave instructions to the passengers to go into basements and to enter the rooms for their own safety”.
“I did not see any passengers carrying a stick, or a sharp object. The Israeli attack gave the impression that something big would happen. The commandos started shooting between quarter and half past four before landing. There was a clear message that our lives are in big danger, and that the goal was not to stop the ship, but more than that”. That was the feeling of everybody on the ship according to Al-Zaubi.
She added: “After an hour and a half the deck was under control of the commandos, and all the passengers were taken to large rooms and tied, except the women and the elderly. After that they searched the body of the people using police dogs during the inspection, and after all the inspection they did not find any weapons, no piece of weapon were found”.
Al-Zoubi pointed out that the Navy commandos moved the ship to the of port Ashdod. “We arrived at six in the morning”. She added: “We knew that there were 5 bodies and dozens of wounded, among them 7 injured in critical condition. I asked several times to provide them with first aid of emergency, but the military did not cooperate with us. The consequence of not giving them of any kind of relief was that two wounded peace activists bled to death”.
After her release from detention, MK Al-Zoubi called for an international investigation committee which should be led by United Nations because crime was committed in international waters and the victims are nationals of many countries. She pointed out that this crime must not remain covered by the Israeli narrative and liess, and that reporters should be allowed immediate access to the 600 detainees which include 60 journalists, in order to listen to their testimonies.
listen to the speech in Arabic of MK Hanan Al-Zoubi.