Free Gaza issued this press statement today…

Today, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hailed the peaceful outcome to the operation when they seized our ship in international waters in direct violation of maritime law. Through his speech writer, he said:

"We saw today the difference between a ship of peace activists, with whom we don’t agree but respect their right to a different opinion from ours, and between a ship of hate organised by violent Turkish terror extremists,"

So we’d like to remind Mr. Netanyahu that the only hate evidenced on board all six boats on Monday morning came from the Israeli attackers. Israeli soldiers violently boarded the entire flotilla, beating, shooting and hooding passengers as though they were in Abu Ghraib

"People had been shot in the arms, legs, in the head – everywhere. We had so many injured. It was a bloodbath," said Laura Stuart on board the Marmara, a British housewife and rescue worker.

She described frantic attempts to treat the injured in a makeshift sick room on the ship, and failed attempts to resuscitate some of the dead.

Therefore, we are putting Mr. Netanyahu on notice that we are returning in the next couple of months with another flotilla, that his actions and the actions of his soldiers have energized thousands of people who have stepped forward with offers to help and participate on the next voyage. We’d also like to remind Mr. Netanyahu that seizing our ship, the Rachel Corrie, is yet another violent act from a long series of violent acts against civilians that Israel has committed this week.(emphasis added)

To add insult to injury for the flotilla participants, the IDF continued their abusive behavior…

Gaza activist ‘beaten in Israeli jail’
…An Irish-American activist(and former US Marine) has been hospitalised after allegedly suffering beatings at the hands of Israeli security forces.

In an email Kenneth O’Keefe’s partner writes: "Having already been complaining of dizziness following his first beating by Israeli police, Ken was beaten again last night in his cell.

"He has been taken to hospital where he is receiving treatment for his injuries. I am unsure as to whether he was taken against his will."

That’s not the only example…

Flotilla Activists Interviewed: "Beaten on the ship and at the airport"

PM: What happened to you during the detention?

Luppichini: I was beaten because I asked to call my family and my embassy.

Luppichini, who is still recovering from a rib contusion and several and haematomas, was also detained in an isolation cell for 12 hours because he reacted to defend a Palestinian activist, Osama Qashoo, while he was being beaten in prison. During the isolation, by knocking on the door of his cell, Luppichini succeeded in drawing the attention of Greek activists whilst they were being visited by their consul: only after that did he manage to get in contact with the Italian Consulate.

Here’s several accounts of the brutality…

Gaza activist ‘shot every minute’

Israeli commandos shot passengers at the rate of one a minute during the bloody raid on an aid flotilla bound for Gaza, a Briton on board the main vessel said.

Ismail Patel, chairman of Leicester-based Palestinian rights group Friends of Al Aqsa, said one of the nine people killed during the assault was shot just two feet in front of him.

He claimed the commandos had a "shoot to kill" policy during the initial phase of the attack on the Mavi Marmara, with live rounds being fired on the vessel from a helicopter hovering above.

Mr Patel, who returned to the UK after attending the funerals of his shipmates in Turkey, told a press conference in Westminster the gunfire on the vessel last around an hour. Despite Israeli claims of armed resistance, Mr Patel said those on board acted in self-defence using whatever was at hand.

Mr Patel said: "We now can calculate that they shot one person every minute. One person was shot every minute. There were nine fatalities, over 48 people with gunshot wounds, six are unaccounted for."

From the Guardian…

Gaza flotilla attack: Autopsies reveal intensity of Israeli military force

• Victims found with up to six gunshot wounds
• Israel ‘about to lose a friend’ warns Turkey’s US envoy

The autopsy results released today by the Turkish authorities after the Israeli attack on the Gaza flotilla reveal in chilling detail the intensity of the military force unleashed on the multinational convoy.

Each of the nine victims on the Mavi Marmara in international waters off the coast of Israel in the early hours of Monday morning was shot at least once and some five or six times with 9mm rounds.

The results also reveal how close the fighting was. Dr Haluk Ince, chair of Turkey’s council of forensic medicine (ATK), said: "Approximately 20cm away was the closest. In only one case was there only one entrance wound. The other eight have multiple entrance wounds. [The man killed by a single shot] was shot just in the middle of the forehead with a distant shot."

Israeli MP tells of her terror on aid ship

Haneen Zoubi said Israeli naval vessels had surrounded the flotilla’s flagship, the Mavi Marmara, and fired on it a few minutes before commandos abseiled from a helicopter directly above them.

Terrified passengers had been forced off the deck when water was sprayed at them. She said she was not aware of any provocation or resistance by the passengers, who were all unarmed.

She added that within minutes of the raid beginning, three bodies had been brought to the main room on the upper deck in which she and most other passengers were confined. Two had gunshot wounds to the head, in what she suggested had been executions.

Two other passengers slowly bled to death in the room after Israeli soldiers ignored messages in Hebrew she had held up at the window calling for medical help to save them. She said she saw seven other passengers seriously wounded.

“Israel had days to plan this military operation,” she told a press conference in Nazareth. “They wanted many deaths to terrorise us and to send a message that no future aid convoys should try to break the siege of Gaza.”

Yet another glaring contradiction in Israeli account of flotilla massacre.

…Days before the illegal attack on the Freedom Flotilla in international waters, the Israeli daily Maariv published a detailed account of the IDF’s plans for dealing with this nonviolent political action. The plan included the use of force if the boats would not voluntarily comply.

A senior IDF officer explained:

“We have very good reason to suspect an act of terrorism from the boats. It is impossible to know at this stage whether terrorists boarded the ship or whether there is intent to use live ammunition against our forces. Therefore, we will act with full seriousness and caution.”

This is sensationalism, pure and simple. The ships were inspected by Turkish customs prior to departure and every passenger was searched with x-ray machines to ensure they did not bring weapons with them, a fact confirmed by the Israeli army after they seized and searched the cargo, despite their hysterical insistence after the fact that kitchen knives, screwdrivers, and bullet proof vests constitute weapons.

Was it legal…?