Thursday, June 3, 2010

Reuters puts passenger rhetoric in the mouths of the Israelis

In a story about the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) voting to launch an inquiry into the flotilla incident, Reuters correspondent Robert Evans paraphrases the Israeli position on why some passengers were killed in the raid:
Israel says those who were killed were resisting commandos who boarded the ships of the flotilla to stop it reaching Gaza.
Sorry, did we say the Israeli position?  Here's the official account of events from the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs website on May 31st (with embedded links):
(Communicated by the IDF Spokesperson) 
Early Monday morning (31 May), IDF naval forces intercepted six ships attempting to break the naval blockade of the Gaza Strip. This happened after numerous warnings from Israel and the Israel Navy that were issued prior to the action. The Israel Navy requested the ships to redirect toward Ashdod where they would be able to unload their aid material which would then be transferred over land after undergoing security inspections.
During the boarding of the Mavi Marmara, the demonstrators onboard attacked the IDF naval personnel with live fire and light weaponry including knives and clubs. Additionally two of the weapons used were grabbed from an IDF soldier. The demonstrators had clearly prepared their weapons in advance for this specific purpose. In fact, flotilla leaders stated (Sunday, May 30) that violence was premeditated.
- IDF forces: "We came to speak, they came to fight."
- Israeli Navy soldier describes the violent mob aboard Mavi Marmara
Pistols found on flotilla activists: According to reports from sea, on board the flotilla that was seeking to break the maritime closure on the Gaza Strip, IDF forces apprehended two violent activists holding pistols. The violent activists took these pistols from IDF forces and apparently opened fire on the soldiers as evident by the empty pistol magazines.
As a result of this life-threatening and violent activity, naval forces first employed riot dispersal means, followed by live fire. Reports from IDF forces on the scene are that it seems as if part of the participants on board the ships were planning to lynch the forces.
Now let's return to Evans' take on the Israeli position:
Israel says those who were killed were resisting commandos who boarded the ships of the flotilla to stop it reaching Gaza.
Funny, that sounds a lot more like the passengers' perspective:
At 4:15, tens of Navy boats carrying tens of soldiers tried to board the ships. They were met by resistance. Peaceful resistance. Helicopters came and tried to download soldiers. They could not.  At that moment, they started firing live ammunition.
That's what happens when you have Palestinian rhetoric on the brain.

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