Flytilla activists imprisoned in Israel, held like dogs
A dark day for Israel, US and Greece
By Brenda Norrell
Photo: US peace activists Kathy Kelly and Missy Lane, from the US Boat to Gaza, deported in Israel
Flytilla activists trying to reach Palestine were imprisoned, and transported with cockroaches in blistering heat, according to Aljazeera reporter David Poort, arrested with Flytilla activists. On Monday, Israeli authorities said the majority of the 120 who were denied entry at the Tel Aviv airport remained imprisoned.
The French Consulate said 40 French were detained, including a nine-year-old, who clearly represented no danger to Israel. Another 200 activists were prevented from boarding planes in Europe, resulting in protests and arrests in Paris.
Two women from the United States in the Gaza Flotilla II, Kathy Kelly and Missy Lane, were deported from Tel Aviv airport by Israel on Friday.
Over the weekend, imprisoned Flytilla activists from Belgium began a hunger strike in Beer Al-Saba prison.
"We were held like dogs," Poort said, upon release from prison.
Poort reported in Aljazeera, with photos from the bus transport.
"Ten men were crammed into a space of roughly 3X5 square metres that was infested with cockroaches. The activists on the bus started singing and chanting and demanded to see a lawyer, but were told by the Israeli border police to 'shut up' and were threatened with violence if they didn't.
"'I don't want to hurt you but I certainly will if I have to,' shouted an officer after opening the door to the cell in which the activists were held. When the singing and chanting continued, the border police officers started spraying water through the bars of the cell. 'Dogs are treated better in my country,'" Bilal, a 24-year-old student from Brussels, said.
The US Boat to Gaza reports that Kathy Kelly and Missy Lane, from the US in both the flotilla and Flytilla, were put on a plane back to Athens at the Tel Aviv airport. Earlier, numerous boats in the flotilla were either damaged by sabotage or halted at sea by the Greek Coast Guard.
The US Boat to Gaza said on Friday, "Wearing US Boat to Gaza shirts, they were told they're denied entry to the country for security reasons and were put on a plane back to Athens. Arriving at Tel-Aviv airport earlier today, US Boat to Gaza members were taken to what Israeli guards called 'the immigration hotel' and deported," the boat delegation said. Kelly is the co-cordinator of Voices for Creative Non Violence, and Lane is a peace activist and humanitarian.
European peace activists arriving by plane in Tel Aviv, were imprisoned without any charges filed.
On Monday, the French Consulate said 40 French were among those held, including a nine-year-old, who clearly represented no danger to Israel.
On Sunday, 13 Germans, 22 Belgians and a Spanish activist were placed on two flights for deportation, after being imprisoned.
Also on Sunday, RT News reported that attorneys were denied access to activists being held in Israeli prisons.
Elderly activists from Britain were denied food and water, while being crammed into small prisoner transport vehicles, without air conditioning for hours, and taken to prison. They included John Lynes, 83, a retired academic, and Audrey Gray, 77, a retired nurse and Methodist lay preacher.
Twelve people from the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign -- British, Welsh and Scottish -- were held at Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport on Friday. The group’s chairman, university teacher Mick Napier, 64, was one of four Scots detained.
Women from Belgium, and an Irish woman who now lives in Wales, are among those reported imprisoned.
Wales Online reports four women shackled and imprisoned: Pippa Bartolotti, 57, the deputy leader of the Wales Green Party, Dee Murphy, 56, from Swansea, a founder member of Swansea Palestine Community Link, Fiona Williams, 46, from Mumbles, and Joyce Giblin from Newport. http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/2011/07/10/four-welsh-women-arrested-in-israel-flytilla-protest-91466-29025935/#ixzz1RiE0ZRz1
While the mainstream media continued its cheerleading for Israel, the International Solidarity Movement reported on the illegal imprisonments and human rights abuses.
"Over 120 internationals attempting to visit Palestine are still being illegally detained — kidnapped — in two Israeli detention centers, in Ramle and in Beer Al-Saba’ (Beersheva). These friends of Palestine, among which there are minors and elderly persons with medical conditions, have been and are being mistreated and subjected to unnecessary brutality," the International Solidarity Movement said during the weekend.
"For example, Dr. Hikmat Al-Sabty, 57, of Rostock, Germany, is being denied needed medication that is in his suitcase; this was reported to his wife by the German Embassy in Tel Aviv, but his wife has not been allowed to speak with him directly. All of those detained have stated repeatedly that they are non-violent and want only to accept the invitation to visit together with Palestinian friends in the program 'Welcome to Palestine.'"
In Beer Al-Saba prison, eleven Flytilla activists, including one 16-year-old girl, began a hunger strike in protest over the air flotilla detainment. A message was taken out by a German who was released, with their demands:
1) Immediate and unconditional freedom to travel to Palestine and take part in the activities of “Welcome to Palestine”
2) Immediate and free access to the other groups of the initiative
3) Access to international communication so that we can directly inform our families and friends
4) The European states have to defend the interests of their citizens and their humanitarian and political rights – especially the right of free movement
5) An independent investigation of the attitudes and the practices of the European airlines
Israel said Facebook helped governments spy on, and arrest, Flytilla activists to Palestine, aiding in the creation of airline blacklists:
"Yagal Palmor, a spokesman for Israel's Foreign Ministry, said the list was compiled by following organizers' preparations on social networks and websites," AP reported.
Before the US activists departed for the Gaza Freedom Flotilla II, the Obama Administration's US State Department threatened peace activists with fines and arrest if they participated.
The US Boat to Gaza carried letters of friendship and support for Palestinians.