Flash: Haaretz Reports At Least 10 Activists on Gaza Mercy Flotilla Have Been Killed by Israeli Gunfire
Haaretz Report: At least 10 activists killed as Israel Navy opens fire on Gaza aid flotilla Over 60 pro-Palestinian campaigners wounded after aid convoy sailing for Gaza Strip ignored Israel's order to turn back, Turkish news reports. IDF confirms two commandos also wounded. At least three activists from the East Bay, including Dr. Paul Larudee of El Cerrito, have been taking part in the mission to bring relief to Gaza.
The names of those killed have not yet been reported.
ABC News of Australia has now repeated a report from Israel's Channel 10 television of up to 16 dead. The online story includes a video of commandos boarding a ship and firing at passengers. The voice of someone identifying himself as the captain can be heard urging passengers not to show resistance.
Gaza has been under an Israeli-led blockade since 2006.Amnesty International, in its latest Annual Human Rights Report (May 26, 2010) stated that Israel's siege on Gaza has "deepened the ongoing humanitarian crisis. Mass unemployment, extreme poverty, food insecurity and food price rises caused by shortages have left four out of five Gazans dependent on humanitarian aid. The scope of the blockade and statements made by Israeli officials about its purpose showed that it was being imposed as a form of collective punishment of Gazans, a flagrant violation of international law."
The Freedom Flotilla carries 10,000 tons of relief aid to Gaza. Chocolate, crayons, soccer balls, basket balls as well as medical equipment and building supplies are being delivered by the international community directly to the people of Gaza, using only international waters and the coastal waters immediately off of Gaza for passage.
The Sfendoni with its passengers moved through waters near Limassol, Cyprus, yesterday."While passing by we enjoyed a quick swim with some dolphins and then they escorted us on our way," said Paul Larudee, a co-founder of the Free Palestine Movement. "We take this as a very good omen indeed."
Other U.S. citizens on board the Sfendoni:
•Ambassador Edward L. Peck,who served as a paratrooper duringtwo tours of wartime active duty; spent 32 years in the Foreign Service; including stints as Chief of Mission in Iraq and Mauritania, Deputy Director of the Cabinet Task Force on Terrorism at the Reagan White House, and State Department Liaison Officer to the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon; and after retirement was Executive Secretary of the American Academy of Diplomacy.
•Gene St. Onge, an Oakland, CA-based civil/structural engineer, who is working with Palestinian engineers to rebuild housing destroyed in Israel's 2009 invasion of Gaza; and
•Dr. Paul Larudeeof El Cerrito, CA, a piano tuner and FPM co-founder, who also co-foundedThe Free Gaza Movement,the movement that first broke the siege of Gaza in 2008;
• Janet Kobren, a retired math teacher and co-founder of the FPM.