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Ten years after Israel’s hijacking of the Mavi Marmara, we cannot forget those who it killed

23 10 33

It is ten years since a live broadcast from the Mediterranean on Aljazeera TV came to an abrupt end. On 31 May 2010 I was watching human rights activists on the MV Mavi Marmara laden with humanitarian supplies for the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip describing their fears as the Israeli navy circled the ship ordering its Captain to change course. Moments later, the transmission was ended. I feared the worst. With no news at all coming through I slept, unaware of the fate of the Mavi Marmara and the five other ships in the Gaza Freedom Flotilla.

I woke to the shocking news that the Israeli navy had not only hijacked the flotilla but also killed nine human rights activists in the process. A tenth person died from his wounds later. There were no Israeli commandos killed by the civilians on board the ships, although a small number were injured after they boarded the flotilla’s flagship.

As Palestinians, we are only too aware of Israeli brutality, but for nine humanitarians trying to deliver aid to needy people in Gaza to be killed for their endeavours was shocking. By all accounts, the Israeli navy attacked the flotilla in international waters — piracy, surely — demonstrating that Israel felt that it could act with impunity; it still does. It simply has to scream “self-defence” and “security” and the so-called international community that claims to uphold democratic values and human rights will do and say nothing, except to reaffirm the occupation state’s right to self-defence. The reality is that no state whose army is occupying neighbouring or other territory has a legal right to claim self-defence.

READ: Does the ICC decision about Israel-Palestine really mean a black day for truth and justice?

On board the Mavi Marmara was my friend and colleague Sarah Colborne, the then Director of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign in Britain. She was one of the last passengers on the ship to appeal to the world on Aljazeera’s live broadcast. Her message to the Israeli navy was clear: “Stop threatening us.” It fell on deaf ears. Sarah later described the flotilla as a response to the UN call for ships to be sent with humanitarian aid to break the Israeli-led blockade on Gaza.

Israel imposed a cruel, immoral siege on the tiny enclave in 2007 after Hamas took control of Gaza months after forming the government following its Palestinian Legislative Council win in 2006 and the appointment........

© Middle East Monitor