THE IRISH SHIP to Gaza campaign has said that it’s received a call from their national coordinator Fintan Lane, who is being held in an Israeli prison.
Lane was among 27 activists aboard two boards attempting to make their way to Gaza on Friday, when they were intercepted by the Israeli navy.
The group says that Lane communicated the following message to them:
The takeover of the MV Saoirse was violent and dangerous. Despite very clear protests from the occupants of the two boats that they did not want to be taken to Israel, they were forcibly removed from the boats in a violent manner. The whole takeover took about three hours.
It began with Israeli forces hosing down the boats with high pressure hoses and pointing guns at the passengers through the windows. I was hosed down the stairs of the boat. Windows were smashed and the bridge of the boat nearly caught fire. The boats were corralled to such an extent that the two boats, the Saoirse and the Tahrir, collided with each other and were damaged, with most of the damage happening to the MV Saoirse.
The boats nearly sank. The method used in the takeover was dangerous to human life. The Israeli forces initially wanted to leave the boats at sea, but the abductees demanded that they not be left to float at sea, for they would have been lost and possibly sunk. All belongings of the passengers and crew were taken from them and they still do not know if and what they will get back. The 14 Irish citizens remain in Givon prison.
The statement says that the phone call was very rushed and that it ended with Lane saying ‘I have to go’.
There are also claims from the Canadian boat the Tahrir that violence was used during interrogation. The Canadian team have said that access to lawyers is being restricted and that one of the Tahrir passengers was “tased and beaten”.
Israeli officials have said that there were no injuries when the boats were intercepted on Friday, reports the Toronto Sun.
A statement released by the Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore yesterday indicated that embassy officials had met with the 14 Irish nationals and said that they were in good health and that there were no complaints about their physical treatment.
The Irish Embassy is also to raise the issue of damage to the MV Saoirse with Israeli officials, and is in ongoing contact with the Israeli Foreign Ministry.