''A clear message was being sent to us...that our lives were in danger''

Up to now, with activists detained, the world heard only the Israeli version of May 31st events about the Israeli attack on aid ships sailing to Gaza: poor Israeli soldiers, confronted with men armed with clubs and slingshots, and I kid you not, marbles...First Israel said that activists had weapons on the ship but eventually they changed their version and said that activists took the soldiers' weapons and threatened them.

Anyway we know on which side the dead were...

And we know that Israel was determined not to let the ships enter Gaza, including sabotaging two boats of the flotilla, and ultimately attacking those that weren't sabotaged, and it succeeded...

Now that activists are starting to be freed after interrogation, we have their own version of the tragic events, and it is one in which Israeli soldiers opened fire before landing on the boat.

This is from Mihalis Grigopoulos who was steering one of the ships:

"We did not resist at all, we couldn't even if we had wanted to. What could we have done against the commandos who climbed aboard? The only thing some people tried was to delay them from getting to the bridge, forming a human shield. They were fired upon with plastic bullets and were stunned with electric devices.
"There was great mistreatment after our arrest. We were essentially hostages, like animals on the ground.

"They wouldn't let us use the bathroom, wouldn't give us food or water and they took video of us despite international conventions banning this."
This is from Haneen Zuabi, member of the Knesset, who was aboard the Turkish ship:

"They were dinghies and choppers. At 4:30 am the forces landed quickly. I did not hear any warning from the ships, because noise was coming from the ships and the choppers. Within 10 minutes there were already three bodies. The entire operation took about an hour."
"There was not a single passenger who raised a club. We put on our life vests. There were no clubs or anything of the sort. There were gunshots, I don't know if they were live bullets or not. There were gunshots fired from the ships in our direction.
"A clear message was being sent to us, for us to know that our lives were in danger. We convened that we were not interested in a confrontation. What we saw was five bodies. There were only civilians and there were no weapons. There was a sense that I many not come out of it alive. Israel spoke of a provocation, but there was no provocation."
More here...

The Freedom Flotilla Coalition is comprised of: Free Gaza Movement (FG), European Campaign to End the Siege of Gaza (ECESG), Insani Yardim Vakfi (IHH), Ship to Gaza Greece, Ship to Gaza Sweden, The Perdana Global Peace Organization, and the International Committee to Lift the Siege on Gaza, with hundreds of groups and organizations around the world supporting the effort.

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Since March 29th 2006