The crew of the Gaza-bound aid ship Estelle reported “extreme violence” on the part of Israeli Naval forces who attacked and captured their ship over the weekend, including prolonged use of tasers on detained activists, including Greek MPs.
Israel is denying the use of tasers, and forcibly removed the detained crew from the courtroom when they began recounting the attack. Most of the detainees have been allowed to leave, but Israel is keeping several, including former Canadian MP Jim Manly, in custody on charges of illegally entering Israel.
The charge of entering Israel without permission has been a common one to levy against the shanghaied aid ships, with Israeli troops forcing the passengers onto Israeli soil then immediate “arresting” them for doing so. It is unclear how long Manly, who turns 80 next week, will be held, but his son expressed annoyance at the Canadian government’s ambivalence at his detention, noting Greece and Spain quickly got their citizens released.
The ship was reportedly loaded down with food, though Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insisted nothing on board amounted to “humanitarian equipment,” claiming the captured aid ship’s crew knew there is “no crisis” in Gaza and were only going to “slander Israel.”