Activist's online admission backs Israeli version of deadly Gaza flotilla raid
Mustafa Ozer (AFP/File)
An online post by a leading pro-Palestinian activist involved in a deadly incident aboard a flotilla that attempted to break Israel's blockade on the Gaza Strip in 2010 appears to corroborate Israel's version of the events which led to the confrontation that left 10 Turkish citizens dead.
In 2014 posts from a secret British Facebook group, Greta Berlin, the co-founder and spokesperson of the Free Gaza Movement, says that Israeli commandos who boarded the Mavi Marmara flotilla did not open fire on activists until one, Ken O’Keefe, stole a gun from one of them.
“He was responsible for some of the deaths on board the Mavi Marmara. Had he not disarmed an Israeli terrorist soldier, they would not have started to fire. That’s enough. Most of you have no idea what you’re talking about,” Berlin wrote in a debate with other members of the private 'Palestine Live' group for pro-Palestinian activists.
Ken O’Keefe is a radical pro-palestinian activist who served in the American marines and thus had full military training prior to the 2010 raid.
“O’Keefe created all kinds of problems for us on that first trip to Gaza, he lied about having a captain’s license, he had rather crazy ideas of wanting to have a ‘suicide boat,’” she added.
The group, whose members once included the leader of the UK's Labour party Jeremy Corbyn, was recently exposed to have been rife with anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli content.
Israel and Turkey have traded blame for the bloody incident, which scuppered diplomatic relations between the two countries until 2016.
Israel broadly claimed the commandos were acting in self-defense after the activists used knives and metal bars with the intention of seriously harm them. Activists who were aboard the flotilla said the commando used violence disproportionately.
Israel and Turkey in 2016 agreed to end the flotilla row after secret talks.
Israel offered an apology over the raid, permission for Turkish aid to reach Gaza through Israeli ports, and a payout of $20 million to families of those killed.
Under the deal, both sides agreed that individual Israeli citizens or those acting on behalf of the government would not be held liable.
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