Dozens of pro-Palestinian activists detained in an Israeli raid on a Gaza aid flotilla on Monday reported upon arriving in Jordan on Wednesday that they had been mistreated by Israeli authorities ahead of their deportation.
“The Israelis roughed up and humiliated all of us — women, men and children,” said Kuwaiti lawmaker Waleed al-Tabtabaie, who was aboard one of the ships with other activists from Muslim countries. “They were brutal and arrogant, but our message reached every corner of the world: that the blockade on Gaza is unfair and should be lifted immediately,” he added.
The lawmaker said there “was not a single weapon with the passengers aboard all the ships.” Algerian Izzeddine Zahrour said Israeli authorities “deprived us of food, water and sleep, and we weren’t allowed to use the toilet.”
“It was an ugly kidnapping and subsequently [we were subjected to] bad treatment in the Israeli jail,” he said. “They handcuffed us, pushed us around and humiliated us.”
Mauritanian Mohammed Gholam said Israel wanted them to sign documents saying that they had entered Israel illegally. “We refused to sign anything and told our captors that we didn’t wish to go to Israel, but to Gaza and that their commandos had kidnapped us from international waters,” he added.
The 124 activists from 12 Muslim nations crossed the Allenby Bridge aboard five Jordanian buses. The bridge across the Jordan River, which is under Israeli control, links Jordan with the West Bank.
An Algerian activist, who only gave her first name as Sabrina, accused Israeli commandos of taking a 1-year-old child “hostage.”
“They point a gun to his head in front of his Turkish parents to force the captain of our ship to stop sailing,”
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.
Israel has come under worldwide censure ever since its naval commandos stormed an aid flotilla in international waters on Monday, resulting in the deaths of nine activists and wounding dozens more on the ships. Israel says its soldiers opened fire only after coming under attack.
Israel on Tuesday announced it would deport most of the nearly 700 activists detained during the raid, as the diplomatic fallout from its deadly raid on the ships widened. On Wednesday, Israeli officials said 200 Turkish activists would board planes Turkey had sent to pick them up.
02 June 2010, Wednesday