Israeli navy attacks international monitoring boat
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Ruqaya Izzedien (00970) 592 669 044
(British journalist speaking English and Arabic)
At 8:40am, on Wednesday, June 13th, 2012, an Israeli warship attacked international observers, a journalist and the Palestinian captain of the Civil Peace Service Gaza (CPSGAZA) boat Oliva, in an attempt to harm the crew members and threaten them with arrest.
“We were behind the buoy that Israel put out at sea to mark the three mile limit and they attacked us with heavy water cannons for half an hour, chasing us towards the northen nautical border, ” said Rosa Schiano, an Italian observer. “Then they accused us of crossing the border, when they had forcibly chased us in that direction. ”
Ruqaya Izzedien, a British journalist who accompanied the mission, is available for media questions or interviews. Her attached photo may be used with attribution.
The Oliva was near one fishing boat within three nautical miles of the shore when an Israeli warship drew closer and began circling around the boat, chasing it towards Gaza’s north coast. The warship soon attacked the Oliva with a water cannon, causing the boat to fill up with water. The crew stated that they did not pose any danger and asked the warship to stop firing water. A soldier replied: “Shut up”.
The warship ordered the Oliva to shut down its motor, and its crew to stand in the front of the boat. When they asked whether they were being arrested, a soldier replied: “We’ll take all of you”. Finally, radio commanders decided alternately and the Oliva and its crew were allowed to sail away. “This is your last warning. Next time we won’t be as nice, if you know what I mean”, a soldier added as the Oliva prepared to leave.
While the Oliva was under attack, the CPSGAZA land team observed the Israeli navy simultaneously attacking Palestinian fishermen west of the Gaza Seaport. The fishermen were targeted by live gunfire and wake washed.