Home > Edda Manga, Mattias Gardell, Sweden > Swedes accuse Israel of ‘premeditated murder’

Swedes accuse Israel of ‘premeditated murder’

Politics – Published Thursday, 03 June 2010 11:23 | Author: AFP / The Swedish Wire

Mattias Gardell Edda Manga Two Swedes aboard the Gaza-bound aid flotilla intercepted by Israeli forces this week said in a radio broadcast Thursday they had witnessed “premeditated murder” aboard the Turkish ship that came under the heaviest attack.

“We were witnesses to premeditated murders,” said historian Mattias Gardell who was on the Mavi Marmara along with his wife, fellow historian Edda Manga, when Israeli commandos attacked the ship early Monday, killing at least nine people.

“This was a military attack on a humanitarian aid operation far out in international waters … It was a very surprising and aggressive overreaction by Israel,” he told Swedish public radio upon arrival in Istanbul with planeloads of nearly 500 activists, including seven Swedes, early Thursday.
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Asked about why activists on the Turkish ship had attacked the Israeli soldiers, Gardell stressed “it is not as if Israel is a police officer who no human being has the legitimate right to defend him or herself against.”

“If you are attacked by commando troops you of course must have the right to defend yourself … Many people on this ship thought they were going to kill everyone. They were very frightened … It’s strange if people think one should not defend oneself. Should you just sit there and say: ‘Kill me’?”
he said.

Manga and Gardell, who were among 11 Swedes taking part in the flotilla but the only ones on the Mavi Marmara, were on deck when the shooting began.

“I saw the ship’s security personnel trying to prevent divers from climbing onto the boats,” Manga said.

“Then one of our comrades said (the soldiers) were shooting and had killed three people … (and) that we had to throw ourselves to the floor. We were on deck. We could have died,” she said.

Renowned Swedish crime writer Henning Mankell, who was on another ship, said upon his return to Sweden late Tuesday that “all the ships (in the flotilla) were hijacked, and this was really piracy.”

Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, who was in Istanbul for a conference, met the seven Swedes who flew to Turkey early Thursday after being released from Israeli custody.

“It is important that we now launch an immediate, independent investigation,” Bildt told Swedish public radio before meeting the Swedes, adding “It is also important that we start a more intensive dialogue with Israel to try to influence them to change their Gaza policy.”

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