Footage of Israeli raid on Gaza flotilla
Much talk today centres around the Israeli attack of a flotilla bound for Gaza and the civilian deaths that resulted from the Israel Defense Forces’ actions during the attack.
Israeli officials claim that the decision to open fire on civilians was the result of self defense,
Israel said it opened fire after its commandos were attacked by knives, clubs and live fire from two pistols wrested from soldiers after they rappelled from a helicopter at about 4 a.m. to board one of the vessels.
Live footage from an IDF ship put out by the IDF’s Spokesperson Unit shows Israeli soldiers rappelling on board the ship and being attacked with metal poles and chairs and being thrown off the boat,
However, an Al Jazeera correspondent who was aboard the flotilla reports,
[A] white surrender flag was raised from the ship and there was no live fire coming from the passengers.
The response from the international community has primarily been that of outrage over Israel’s actions, with Turkey recalling its ambassador to Israel and describing Israeli actions as “state terrorism”. Undoubtedly more details with emerge over time, but the incident comes at a bad time for Israel after the suspected assassination of a Hamas military commander Mahmoud al-Mabhouh and use of British passports in the operation by the Israeli Mossad.
The action may also bolster President Obama’s less than hospitable treatment of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, for which President Obama has come under fire from both members of his own party, like Chuck Schumer, as well as the influential pro-Israel lobby AIPAC.
In a sign that relations may have been thawing, Netanyahu was scheduled to visit the White House after his visit in Canada was wrapped up. In the wake of the raid, Netanyahu has been forced to cancel the plans.
Update: further footage of the attack from aboard the Mavi Marmara: