Commentary | Flotilla interview revealing

Re: “The Gaza flotilla raid, first hand” | News | November 11

Ewa Jasiewicz’ interview with The McGill Daily was truly revealing. Her involvement with activism dates to 2003, six months after Operation Defensive Shield. Seeing the brutal acts of violence conducted by the IDF against the Palestinians forged her commitment to activism.

Dismissing Israeli claims that IHH [a Turkish NGO] or some members of the Freedom Flotilla were linked to terrorist organizations, Jasiewicz argued that Israel knew it wasn’t true because they eventually “released everybody.” Her description of the raid – she was riding on Challenger 1, one of the six boats of the Flotilla – vividly depicts the brutality of the IDF and reveals the “political decision” of “terrorizing” the participants.

Using darkness as a means of psychological intimidation and a cover “to hide the actions of their soldiers,” the IDF targeted activists, journalists, photographers beating, using tasers, handcuffing, hooding, stomping before taking them into custody. With no recourse to legal council, the abuse of the detainees continued while in Israeli custody. Israeli claims that there were weapons onboard are rightfully dismissed: “Every single boat was searched. There were absolutely no weapons aboard any of the boats.”

Jasiewicz thinks Hamas – the unacknowledged cause of the Gaza blockade – “needs to be engaged diplomatically.” Although, “legalizing” Hamas was not among the objectives of the flotilla, the massacre of unarmed civilians aboard the Mavi Marmara has raised public awareness of the dehumanizing conditions in Gaza and stained Israel’s relations with another NATO country, “putting the spotlight on condemning Israel” and lending support to the BDS campaign.

Anait Keuchguerian
B. Mus. (Honours) in Theory 1996, M.A. in Music Theory 1999