Whatever ultimately happened during the Israeli assault of the Freedom Flotilla boats, according to the Free Gaza Movement, one of the flotilla’s organizers, extensive preparations were made to ensure that the participants would be nonviolent. Says a press release published today on Free Gaza’s website:
All ships were thoroughly searched by local port authorities in Greece and Turkey prior to their departure. Additionally, the coalition hired an independent security firm to search the ships and certify that no weapons were on board. All passengers went through nonviolence training and were likewise searched for weapons prior to boarding. The Turkish government, a member-state of the NATO alliance, vetted all the Turkish passengers to insure there was no one with ties to extremist groups. These precautionary steps were deliberately taken to prevent Israeli propaganda officials from ever being able to claim that the Freedom Flotilla posed any ‘security risk’ to Israel.
There was a live satellite feed broadcasting the voyage from the Mavi Marmara, as well as GPS transponders showing the exact location of the flotilla at all times to anyone viewing the coalition website. The intention of the Freedom Flotilla was never to ‘provoke a confrontation,’ but simply to deliver much-needed humanitarian aid to besieged Gaza, and in so doing to draw attention to the brutal Israeli policies that are forcing the Palestinian people into a state of impoverished dependency.
Another boat, the Rachel Corrie, is now headed for Gaza, expected to approach this weekend. For more up-to-the-minute information, video, and passenger manifests, see FreeGaza.org and WitnessGaza.com.