Gardell: "Premeditated Murder"
The final seven Swedes taken by the Israeli military from the Ship to Gaza convoy have been released, and have arrived in Istanbul. Meeting them there was Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt.
Among them were Professor in Religious History Mattias Gardell and his wife, historian Edda Manga, who were the sole Swedes on the ship Mavi Marmara, where nine peace activists were killed.
At Istanbul airport they told Swedish Radio’s correspondent they witnessed premeditated murder by the Israeli commandos. Gardell said: “It was a military attack on a humanitarian mission far out in international waters, 105 nautical miles from the Gaza coast. A very surprising and aggressive overreaction from Israel.”
Edda Manga: “I saw the boat’s security try to keep the divers from climbing up the side of the ship. The one of our comrades came and said they were shooting with live ammunition, they had killed three people.”
When asked why, if this was a peace mission, there are photos of activists using blunt instruments to hit Israeli soldiers, they replied: “If you are being attacked by an elite commando force you must be able to defend yourself. It’s not as if Israel has police powers against which people don’t have legitimate rights to defend themselves. This was an attack in international waters by an unauthorized military force that attacked a peaceful humanitarian mission.”
Six of them Swedes were on the same plane, the seventh, Dror Feiler, who was reportedly stamped on the face by the Israeli commandos, was on another flight.
“He wasn’t allowed to sit with other Swedes”, says Mattias Gardell.