'We were very peaceful activists, but the IDF came to kill'

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
August 31, 2010 17:00

MK Hanin Zoabi talks to UNHRC Gaza flotilla probe, says "IDF viewed activists as terrorists."

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Balad MK Hanin Zoabi

hanin zoabi looking crazy 311. (photo credit:AP)

MK Hanin Zoabi (Balad) said Tuesday she told UNHRC investigators probing Israel's deadly raid on an aid flotilla bound for the Gaza Strip that its commandos were on a mission to kill.

Investigators from a UN human rights inquiry on the May 31 flotilla attack, in which nine activists died, began interviewing witnesses in the Jordanian capital on Monday.

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So far, Zoabi and six others have been interviewed.

"It was evident from the beginning that the commandoes viewed all of us activists as terrorists," Zoabi told The Associated Press after her testimony before a three-member U.N. team headed by Karl Hudson-Phillips, former judge of the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

"Israel's use of large numbers of elite troops with sophisticated weaponry showed it intended to kill the passengers," added the lawmaker, who was aboard the Turkish-flagged Mavi Marmara, where the killing took place. "We were very peaceful activists, but the commandoes came to kill," she said.

Israel has refused to cooperate with this probe, accusing the UN Human Rights Council of bias. But it is working with a separate UN group led by New Zealand's ex-Prime Minister Geoffrey Palmer and Colombia's ex-President Alvaro Uribe that is examining the legal ramifications of the incident.

Israeli commandos met unexpected resistance last May when they tried to prevent a Turkish aid ship from breaking Israel's blockade of Gaza. The commandos opened fire, killing eight Turkish activists and a Turkish American. Both countries said they acted in self-defense.

Israel's military has already wrapped up its own investigation, finding that intelligence failed to predict the violent response but troops acted properly under the circumstances.

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