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Israeli Commandos Kill Unarmed Civilians in International Waters

Last night, Israeli commandos attacked a flotilla of humanitarian aid ships headed to Gaza. They killed at least 15 civilians on these boats during their attack according to numerous media outlets. The activists, parliamentarians, medical personnel and reporters were unarmed and the ships had decided to back away to avoid a night time confrontation after the Israelis challenged them around 100 miles offshore. The Israeli commandos had been drilling for days in preparation and as we watched a live news feed from Turkish TV (the lead vessel was Turkish and carried several hundred passengers), we were able to see the commandos land — and fire — on the aid activists on board. And we could hear an organizer on the boat repeatedly call for help in English and Hebrew, telling Israeli forces that “we have critical casualties, we have 3 dead, we need help, stop your attack.” As seen in the videos, Israeli forces continued to fire even after the ship raised a white flag.

Australian reporter Paul McGeough reported the initial contacts with the Israeli navy just before these events. McGeough was on a different aid ship and as of 2 AM Central, contact with him had not been re-established.

Within minutes of the reports of the killings of the aid activists, the Israeli PR machine started spreading tales – claiming the activists were violent, attacked the Israelis and more. Yet, as  “Audrey Bomse, a spokesperson for the Free Gaza Movement, which is behind the convoy, told the BBC“:

… Israel’s actions were disproportionate.

“We were not going to pose any violent resistance. The only resistance that there might be would be passive resistance such as physically blocking the steering room, or blocking the engine room downstairs, so that they couldn’t get taken over. But that was just symbolic resistance.”

All reports place the ships outside Israeli waters making the attack a violation of international navigation laws and, in effect, piracy.

So, will Obama cancel the “friendly” meeting with Netanyahu this Tuesday planned by Rahm who is currently in Israel? Will NATO challenge Israel over this act of piracy against one of its member companies?

Emergency demonstrations will be held around the world to protest this crime – you can find one near you on this map.

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Siun is a proud Old Town resident who shares her home with two cats and a Great Pyrenees. She’s worked in media relations and on the net since before the www, led the development of a corporate responsibility news service, and knows what a mult box is thanks to Nico. When not swimming in the Lake, she leads a team working on sustainability tools.

Email: media dot firedoglake at gmail dot com