(photo credit: Associated Press)
An Israeli passenger who was on board the Irene,
a boat carrying Jewish activists and aid to Gaza that was intercepted
by the IDF on Tuesday, says there was violence on board despite the IDF
Spokesperson asserting otherwise.
"There are no words to describe
what we went through on that boat, " said Yonatan Shapira, a passenger
and former Israeli Air Force pilot.
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"The IDF are trying to put a
media spin on events, saying it was a non-violent takeover, but the
soldiers' actions were violent and disgusting. I was tasered. Our
message is that the occupation of Gaza cannot continue. "
The yacht carrying the Jewish activists that intended to break the Gaza blockade docked at Ashdod Port on Tuesday afternoon.
Israeli Navy took over the Irene, on Tuesday morning. The IDF spokesperson
reported that no violence was used in taking over the boat, and that the activists were peaceful.
The IDF intends to deliver the humanitarian aid on the yacht to the Gaza Strip.
taking over the ship, the navy issued two warnings to the yacht, saying
that they were breaking Israeli and international laws. When the
captain ignored the warnings, the ship entered blockaded waters.
is an unfortunate fact that the Israeli Navy has to be distracted from
preventing terror and weapons-smuggling to Israel's enemies to deal with
this kind of provocation," the IDF spokesperson said in a statement.
Tuesday, an Israeli activist told Israel Radio that the two Israeli
Navy ships had escorted the boat carrying Jewish activists to Gaza on
Tuesday morning, and that more ships were on the horizon.
"The army established contact with the captain, and asked him where we
are headed," Rami Elhanan, who was aboard the Irene, said. "The navy
asked to bypass the ship from 5 miles to the right, and we complied."
"We said we are headed to Gaza and sailing under the British flag," Elhanan added.
Irene, which was carrying nine Jewish activists from Israel and other
countries, set sail from Cyprus on Sunday. The activists said they were
trying to draw attention to Israel's blockade of Gaza and would not
resist if they were stopped.
Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman
Andy David called the activists' claim to be bringing aid to Gaza
"ridiculous" and labeled the voyage "a politically motivated