Israel may free all Gaza flotilla detainees
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
All International Activists from the six ship "Gaza Freedom flotilla", seized in the Gaza flotilla raid by Israeli naval forces in international waters, may be released. The activists had attempted to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza.
Benjamin Netanyahu decided that Israel will not prosecute or continue to hold the activists it captured. "It was agreed that the detainees would be deported immediately," said a spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister, as Israel comes under fire for its actions in the incident.
Although some reports indicated that more had died, it's now believed that nine people were killed in the Israeli attack on the convoy, although one witness put the death toll at as high as sixteen. The details of the raid still remain unclear and repatriated flotilla activists have challenged the Israeli version of the deadly raid.
Israel's defense minister, Ehud Barak, visited troops who had been involved in the incident, saying that
|[W]e need to always remember that we aren't North America or Western Europe, we live in the Middle East, in a place where there is no mercy for the weak and there aren't second chances for those who don't defend themselves.|
Israel officially expelled 48 of the 682 of the activists on Tuesday, after they signed documents saying they entered Israel illegally. The activists who refused to sign the document were detained at the southern Israeli prison of Ashdod. Some 30 wounded activists were still detained in hospitals, the Red Cross said it was granted access to the detainees. By Wednesday morning, about 120 activists arrived in Jordan via the Allenby crossing.
Activists, from Arab and Muslim nations such as Malaysia, Indonesia, Bahrain, Kuwait and Pakistan, were due to travel on to Amman. More than 300 activists were taken from Beersheba prison by bus to Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv to be flown out of Israel, the Israeli interior ministry said.
Meanwhile, hundreds of Gazans used the newly opened Egyptian crossing.
- "Gaza flotilla: Israel frees foreign flotilla activists" — BBC News Online, June 2, 2010
- AP. Turkey: Israel to release all Turks from aid ships <broken link> — Google News, June 2, 2010
- "Israel deports flotilla activists after world outcry" — Reuters, June 2, 2010
- AFP. Hundreds of Gazans use newly opened Egyptian crossing <broken link> [archived version] — Google News, June 2, 2010