RAMALLAH, August 25 (JMCC) - Nobel laureate Mairead Maquire tells of her encounter on the high seas with the Israeli military aboard the MV Rachel Corrie.
The ship was part of a flotilla
carrying aid to the blockaded Gaza Strip
that was intercepted by Israeli commandos, killing nine pro-Palestinian activists.
5th June, 11 a.m., We saw two Israeli warships (about 10 miles away) and 2 Navy Seal carriers, and 6 Zodiacs, and we were warned they were sending Commandoes to board our boat. All passengers and crews, assembled in Mid Ship awaiting their arrival. There was no panic everyone was perfectly calm. When the 35 Israeli navy seals (4 of whom were women who searched the three women activists ) and l dog came on board from their Zodiacs. All their faces were covered, and blackened, and they wore full riot gear. Each one had several weapons and they pointed one of these at each of us. We were all sitting in mid ship. I remember looking up to the Wheel House where Derek Graham stood alone his hands up against the window and I admired his courage and hoped he would be safe remembering what happened to those on board the Mavi Marmara. Both Derek Graham and his wife Jenny have all our admiration and thanks as it is due to their courage and calm that we all came through safely. They both are living example of nonviolent love in action and we were all pleased to have them as leaders on the Rachel Corrie’s journey to Gaza.Read
We were all searched and all passports, mobiles, computers, cameras, etc., taken from us. Some soldiers took the Chief Engineer below to the Engine Room. Derek Graham was up in the Wheel house and six soldiers went up and commandeered the Wheel House. Derek Graham had his hands tied behind his back and made to kneel for 45 minutes before being taken to join the Crew. We sat for several hours in the hot sun, while the soldiers searched the ship. Eventually the passengers were taken below to the Captains office, where we sat for 3 hours during the sailing to Ashdod. We had nothing to eat but we were allowed to drink water. There was no shouting, no violence, and everyone remained very calm and orderly.
Maguire's account at the Palestine Monitor...