Survivor testimonies

On May 31, 2010, the six ships reached 75 miles away from the coast of Israel. We constantly reiterated that we were traveling in peace and carrying nothing but humanitarian and construction aid to the people of Gaza. At around 3:00 am, the battleships were still following us along with nearly 30 zodiacs that surrounded the flotilla in international waters.

At 4:10 am, messages from the ship, Define stated, "Mavi Marmara, all of the boats and ships are approaching you." Shortly after, when most of the participants were performing their morning prayers, pursuit boats carring masked, armed soldiers came alongside the boats. At least 10 Israeli soldiers were in every boat. As they tried to get onboard, they began shooting. Then we heard sounds that were similar to gas bombs. The third sound was the constant sound of machine gun fire. At the same time, military helicpters full of armed soldiers rappeled down, shooting as they descended.

This operation was hostile from the very beginning, directed towards killing and killing as many as possible. Israeli soldiers did not open fire on the ships as a warning. They opened fire to kill. The first two people on board were shot in the head, killing them instantly.

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Download this file (Mavi Marmara Report.pdf)Mavi Marmara Report.pdfReport on what happened May 31st as Israel attacked innocent passengers in the flotilla8229 Kb

Poignant story by Kevin Neish about being kidnapped on board the Marmara

International statement concerning the legal consequences of the Israeli attack on the Gaza flotilla on 31 May 2010, with a special focus on the war crime of extensive appropriation of property


NOTE: As a first step to achieve justice with regard to the appropriation of property, a partial list of stolen items and details about the further illegal handling of those stolen items will be published in a number of countries today and in the coming days. (These demands do not exclude the ongoing legal work against Israel for loss of life and wounding of passengers.)


1. This statement
  • Is issued by and on behalf of the Freedom Flotilla coalition, who organised the Gaza flotilla of six vessels carrying passengers (consisting of human rights activists, journalists, members of parliament and other civilians) and crew totalling approximately 700 people, taking humanitarian aid to the civilian population of Gaza, which was unlawfully intercepted and attacked in international waters by the Israeli military on 31 May 2010, leading to a series of criminal acts by the Israeli military, some of which are ongoing.
  • focuses on the legal consequences of those events, setting out some initial steps that are required in order for the responsible Israeli military personnel and political leaders to be held accountable for their actions on 31 May 2010 and subsequently.
  • Is supported by a large number of the individuals who were unlawfully transferred into Israel and mistreated by the Israeli military during their captivity on 31 May and at the beginning of June 2010.  It is also supported by the bereaved families of the nine confirmed dead Turkish citizens (one of whom was a dual national US citizen).
2. Like the eight previous similar sailings to Gaza organised by the Free Gaza Movement and others, and future anticipated sailings, the Gaza humanitarian aid flotilla of May 2010 set out with a number of goals, including the long term goal of trying to bring forward the day of a peaceful settlement to the Palestinian/Israeli dispute. That goal requires an end to Israeli occupation and the opportunity for the Palestinian people to exercise their rights to self-determination.  In the meantime, there is an urgent need for all Palestinians to be freed from the daily, routine abuse of their fundamental rights by Israel, the occupying power.
3. In the shorter term, therefore, another goal of the humanitarian flotilla of human rights activists and others was to seek to defy the closure of Gaza (declared unlawful by the UN and ICRC). Five previous shipments successfully delivered humanitarian cargo to Gaza in 2008 without incident, exposing the hardships and illegality of Israel’s closure policy.

4. The illegal attack on the civilians on the flotilla on 31 May 2010 had terrible consequences, resulting in the death of (at least) nine civilians. It was wholly unnecessary and unwarranted. It has, however, served to focus international attention on the closure of Gaza and has led to a welcome international review of the policies of governments across the world towards the closure. There is no natural disaster in Gaza.  Therefore, Gaza does not in fact need long term humanitarian aid, but instead needs to simply be allowed to rebuild its economy and trade normally with the rest of the world.  It cannot do this whilst the closure and naval blockade continue.


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