Thursday, 3 June 2010

12 Malaysians among 124 Gaza-aid activists released by Israel

Published: Wednesday June 2, 2010 MYT 10:40:00 AM
Updated: Wednesday June 2, 2010 MYT 9:17:51 PM

PETALING JAYA: The 12 Malaysians who were on board aid ship Mavi Marmara, which was attacked and detained by Israeli forces Monday morning, have been released and are now in Jordan.

They include Astro Awani journalist Ashwad Ismail and cameraman Samsulkamal Abdul Latip.

Malaysian Ambassador to Jordan Datuk Abdul Malek Abdul Aziz said the 12 arrived at 6.30am local time Wednesday.

They are currently staying at the Crown Plaza Hotel while waiting for their travel documents to be processed, he said when contacted.

"We are doing what we can to bring them home. Some of them lost their passports and documents. The news crew's cameras were also confisicated," he added.

"We are doing what we can to bring them home. Some of them lost their passports and documents. The news crew's cameras were also confisicated," he added.

The Malaysians who were on board the Mavi Marmara after their release. With them are Malaysian ambassador to Jordan Datuk Abd Malek Abd Aziz (front, fourth from left)and First Secretary Wong Chia Chiann (front, right). -BERNAMA

Abdul Malek also said he had not heard from six other Malaysians on the Rachel Corrie, which was expected to reach Gaza later Wednesday.

However, according to a TV channel, journalist Shamsul Akmar, who is on the ship, said they would continue towards their destination despite the threat of being boarded by the Israeli navy.

"We are prepared for the possibility. If they do board us, we will not resist," he said.

Meanwhile, Malaysian delegation leader Noorazman Mohd Samsuddin said Israeli forces treated the detainees like criminals.

"We were not even allowed to go to the toilet,” he said.

According to Astro Awani, the Malaysians were among 124 Gaza flotilla aid activists aboard five buses, who arrived in Amman, Jordan, Wednesday morning via Allenby Bridge, after being detained and ill-treated by Israeli forces.

Ashwad, 26, said all media equipment was confiscated, including notebooks and pens.

Relating his experience live from Jordan earlier Wednesday, he said they were exhausted and dehydrated after 28 hours in detention at Beersheba prison.

He said Israeli naval forces, comprising 19 naval boats, eight naval ships and three Apache helicopters attacked the ship at 4.40am on Monday.

"We were fully prepared as we had received reports that Israeli forces had expanded their claim on territorial waters from 64km to 108km (off the coast of Gaza).

"They started to circle us at 11pm. They began advancing at 2am and attacked us from all angles at 4.30am. They attacked us incessantly. Alhamdullillah, our cameraman, Shamsul and I were safe from the assault," he said, adding that the Israelis had used live ammunition.

Contrary to Israeli defence forces claims in the international media that aid activists had used sharp weapons, Ashwad said they had merely sprayed water from fire hoses to ward off their attackers. (read here: "It was pure hell." , here and here)

"I did not see any sharp weapons in the form of knives, parang, sword and so on being used. Volunteers merely used water to stop the commandos from boarding the ship.

"Two Turkish nationals, one of my right and the other on my left, were shot on the arm and hand. I managed to escape and crawled to safety on the deck, which was filld with blood. It was indeed a painful experience. It was an eye-opener to the world. I did not expect Israel to act in such a way. We were civilians onboard but subjected to military action.

"It was a war against humanity. During the 28-hour ordeal, I could fathom the six decades of Israeli-Palestine conflict and the oppression against Palestinians. I hope our audience, including my parents, will get the message."

Ashwad said he was handcuffed, taken to Ashdod and later detained in Beersheba prison. He was separated from Shamsul then but they were reunited at the Jordan-Israel border following their release.

He thanked the Government and the Malaysian Embassy in Jordan as well as the international community for efforts to secure their release.

Astro Awani general manager Rozina Aziz said the TV station was unable to contact Ashwad directly as his handphone had been confiscated.

He was contacted through the ambassador’s number.

Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman left for Jordan on Wednesday to help expedite their return to Malaysia.

Meanwhile, a statement from the Prime Minister's office said a motion would be tabled in Parliament on Monday to strongly condemn the attack by Israeli military on the aid ship Mavi Marmara, which was carrying humanitarian assistance to Gaza.

Earlier, Kuwaiti ambassador Sheik Faisal Al Sabah had said that in addition to the 16 Kuwaitis aboard the buses, the other activists came from Azerbaijan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Algeria, Morocco, Mauritania, Yemen, Oman and Bahrain.

Dozens of other activists remain in Israeli detention, but most are expected to be deported in the coming days.

The bridge across the Jordan River is under Israeli control. It links Jordan with the West Bank.

Jordanian government spokesman Nabil Al-Sharif said there were 30 Jordanians in the group. Jordan is one of two Arab nations with a signed peace treaty with Israel.

The bridge's Jordanian chief, Brig. Mahmoud Abu Jumaa, said Jordan will help repatriate the activists - who include lawmakers and journalists - to their respective countries in coordination with their governments.

Worldwide condemnation has poured on Israel since its naval commandos halted the aid flotilla in international waters overnight Monday, setting off a melee that left nine activists dead and dozens wounded.

Eighteen Malaysians were involved in the humanitarian mission, with six on board another ship, the Rachel Corrie.

Mavi Marmara was leading a convoy of six vessels bound for Gaza to deliver aid to 100,000 Palestinians when it was attacked by Israeli commandoes in international waters at 10.30am Malaysian time on Monday. - The Star

Read here "Gaza Aid convoy" and here "Lying About the Gaza Flotilla Disaster"


supporter of Free Gaza said...

I quote here wht Israeli Foreign Minister Minister Avigdor Lieberman said at a press conference following the raid on Flotilla published by the Independent:


Later in the day,Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman held a press conference, in which he made two revealing declarations. First, he asserted that no country would allow a foreign entity to threaten its sovereign borders. This claim, however, reveals the basic lie regarding Israel’s Gaza policy.

Israel has to decide once and for all whether or not it withdrew from Gaza in August 2005. If it did and Gaza is an autonomous entity as Israel claims, then the attempt on the part of these humanitarian ships to reach the Gaza sea port is not an infringement on Israeli sovereignty. If, on the other hand, Israel considers the flotilla’s entrance into Gaza’s territorial sea line as a violation of its own sovereign borders, then Israel needs to admit that it has never given up its sovereignty over Gaza. Lieberman’s statement discloses, in other words, that Israel has fashioned itself as a unique creature in the international arena: the non-sovereign sovereign. When it suits its interests, the government claims that it has relinquished sovereignty over Gaza, but when it does not, the government reasserts its sovereignty. Lieberman should keep in mind that with sovereignty comes responsibility. Thus, if Israel was indeed defending its borders yesterday morning then as sovereign, Israel is also responsible for the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip--for their livelihood as well as their security.

Lieberman’s second declaration was that the Israeli military is the most moral in the world. No other soldiers, he said, would have dealt in such a forgiving way with the people on board the ships.

Lieberman conveniently ignored the fact that according to international law the Israeli soldiers were acting like pirates, since hijacking an unarmed humanitarian aid ship in international waters is by definition piracy.

Moreover, his second observation is informed by the lesser evil argument; namely, the Israeli military could have been more brutal and chose not to. As the great Jewish philosopher Hannah Arendt pointed out, "Politically, the weakness of the argument [for lesser evils] has always been that those who choose the lesser evil forget very quickly that they chose evil." - Neve Gordon.

Neve Gordon is an Israeli activist and the author of and author of Israel’s Occupation (University of California Press, 2008)

puteri said...

tok mommy,

Israel is defending the indefensible calling the peaceful activists as terrorists. Yet it has so far refused to give the names of these so-called-terrorists.

They just gave their version of the incident. Cameras of journalists on board wre confiscated.

The stories emerging from these "terrorists" who were later released contradicted tht given by the Israelis.

Among those on board were Nobel peace laureate Mairead Corrigan-Maguire and Joe Meadors, a survivor of the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty (on a US ship in International waters that killed many good Americans in June 1967, and MPs from some Eoropean country.

Are they terrorists?

With condemnation from world leaders against this latest incident, I thought well maybe, no way they will get away this time.

How wrong I was. Obama's and tht of the UN Security council'd statement on the tragic incident have so far not proven any different.

Anonymous said...

Lahnat betul Yahudi & sekutunya, terutma sekali Amerika Syarikat dan tidak terkecuali negara-negara Arab yang lain saperti Mesir.

Cakap aje. Talk no action.

Apa hal dengan Mubarak? Baru nak buka the gatea to Gaza, satu-satunya pintu masuk terus ke Gaza tanpa melalui Israel? Babi sial!!

Anonymous said...

Double-standardlah tu.

Daphne Ling said...

Hi Aunty Maria,

Just here to say hello only ;) So, hello! Semua ok ke at home?