Three Israeli citizens who were on board the Estelle humanitarian aid ship which was stopped from reaching the Gaza Strip by the Israeli military have been placed under house arrest by an Israeli judge today, pending charges of “incitement.”
The incitement charge is based on the Israeli government’s claim that there is no humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip, and that the only reason the ship sought to deliver food to Gaza was to “slander Israel,” which has been strictly limiting food shipments to the enclave.
Israel captured roughly 30 activists on board the Estelle, and charged the foreign ones with entering Israel without permission after forcing the ship into an Israeli port. Most of the charges were quickly dropped and the detainees “deported.”
The major outlier in this is retired Canadian MP Jim Manly, who turns 80 next month and remains in an Israeli prison on charges of both incitement and illegally entering Israel. Israeli officials are reportedly keen to get him to sign a “confession” as part of any deal to release him, and Canadian officials have so far refused to intervene, causing something of a stir among Canadians who say that the close Canadian-Israeli ties the Harper government has bragged about don’t mean anything if they can’t secure the release of a Canadian captured on the high seas.
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