Israeli 'Irene' passenger: The IDF were violent on board

Commando 13 warship peacefully diverts yacht from Gaza after illegally enters waters; IDF spokesperson calls boat "provocation."

By JPOST.COM STAFF
September 28, 2010 11:54
2 minute read.
A boat with 9 Jewish activists aboard sets sail fr

Irene 311. (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.

The 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.

Before 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.

"It 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.

Earlier 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.

The 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 provocation."


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