BREAKING NEWS: Israel's Attack on Humanitarian Ship to Gaza.
By Prof. Michel Chossudovsky
URL of this article: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=24789
Global Research, May 16, 2011
The Spirit of Rachel Corrie (officially known as FINCH) carrying a humanitarian cargo to Gaza was attacked by an Israeli naval patrol within the so-called Palestinian Security Zone on May 15, at 10.54pm EDT.
In the course of the last few hours, Global Research has communicated several times with the Rachel Corrie vessel en route to Gaza. What is provided below is a detailed update. An earlier article was posted at 12.30am EDT
The vessel left the Greek Port of Piraeus, on Wednesday, May 11. The humanitarian initiative is sponsored by the Perdana Global Peace Foundation (PGPF), chaired by the former Prime Minister of Malaysia Mahathir Mohamad.
The Spirit of Rachel Corrie entered Gazan waters without being detected.
The Israeli navy with its radar equipment and advanced communications technology was unaware of the Spirit of Rachel Corrie Mission.
Ironically, Mossad, Israel's intelligence agency was unaware of this mission. The Israeli navy vessels acted in an improvised fashion, without prior knowledge or intelligence. There was no indication that they had received precise instructions from the Israeli government.
At the time of the attack, the passengers on board were under the impression that the ship was still in international waters, when in fact is was one mile inside the "Palestinian Security zone", namely in Gaza territorial waters, within a short distance of the Gaza coastline. This was an important accomplishment.
Indicated below is the initial report sent to Global Research by text message:
Two Israeli naval vessels initially launched a "warning attack" on the Rachel Corrie, indicating that if the ship did not change course, they would shoot at the crew and the passengers. One of the passengers was almost killed as a result of the attacks. (See Bernama, May 16, 2011)
The following exchange took place between the Israeli navy and the ship as reported by the Free Malaysia Today journalist on board the Spirit of Rachel Corrie:
"Israeli army: This is a warning shot. Turn around.
The Egyptian navy guard was initially unaware of what was occurring. The Israeli navy contacted the Egyptian navy and initially got no response.
The warning attack was aggressive using automatic weapons. Two Israeli naval patrol boats armed with machine guns were deployed. The Israelis also opened fire on a Palestinian fishing boat which was within Gazan territorial waters.
Following the initial "warning attack" they ordered the Spirit of Rachel Corrie to turn back. "Turn around or we'll shoot". However, once the ship changed course as demanded by the Israeli commando, they continued firing on the ship: "They started shooting to kill"
The Egyptian navy ship while communicating with the Israeli Navy was instrumental in escorting the ship to safe haven. The crew of the Egyptian ship was supportive in ensuring the safety of the crew and passengers of the humanitarian vessel.
There was communication between the Israeli and Egyptian ships and the Israeli's "thanked" the Egyptian ship for having intervened.
The Spirit of Rachel Corrie, its crew and passengers are now in Egyptian territorial water, anchored off the Egyptian port of Al Arish, within a short distance of Gaza territorial waters.
It is essential at this stage to mobilize Worldwide in support for the Spirit of Rachel Corrie, break the blockade, open up Gazan territorial waters to aid and trade and also use this opportunity to open the land border between Egypt and Gaza.