Thursday

8th Dec 2016

Irish MEP smuggles complaint out of Israeli prison

  • War damage in Gaza. Saba said more boats will come (Photo: zoriah)

Irish left-wing MEP Paul Murphy has said he was badly treated after he and 26 activists were detained by Israeli armed forces when they tried to sail to Gaza at the weekend.

"Our boat was almost sunk by the manner in which it was approached and boarded by the Israeli navy. People were shackled and deprived of all personal belongings," he said in a written statement from his detention centre.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

"In Givon prison the authorities tried to disorientate us through sleep deprivation and the prison clock recording the wrong time. We have been given no time frame as to how long we will be kept here before the deportation trial. We were denied our right by Israeli law to contact our families within 24 hours of our arrest," he added.

A spokeswoman for the Irish Ship to Gaza campaign, Claudia Saba, noted that Murphy was allowed one phone call to his family "But he called a party spokesperson instead, pretending him to be his brother."

For her part, Israeli Defence Forces spokeswoman, lieutenant colonel Avital Leibovich told this website no violence was used when boarding his ship. "It all took place in a matter of minutes. There was no resistance and no violence," she said.

Yoel Mester, a spokesman for the Israeli mission to the European Union, added he is "sure" the detainees "are all [being] treated fairly ... the procedures in Israel are quite similar to those in the Europe."

Murphy said earlier on his blog he chose to participate in the mini-flotilla "in response to the call from people within Gaza to try to break the siege they suffer under."

The new flotilla consisted of two vessels: one Canadian, the Tahrir, meaning "liberation" in Arabic and one Irish, the Saoirse, Irish for "freedom."

Twenty seven people were on board, five of them journalists. Six have been released so far according to reports. But many are refusing to sign a waiver saying they tried to enter Israel illegally.

"They were kidnapped and brought into Israel," Saba said.

"We gave them three options: to return to their home port, to go to an Egyptian port, or to an Israeli port. You can't inspect cargo in the middle of the sea," Leibovich noted.

A UN investigation into a Gaza flotilla last year said the Israeli naval blockade of Gaza is legal. But two weeks after the finding was published in September a separate panel of human rights experts reporting to the UN said that it is a "flagrant contravention of international human rights and humanitarian law."

Saba said the so-called Freedom Waves movement will keep up its work "until the blockade is lifted ... We work as follows: as soon as we have a boat, we set sail."

Analysis

Austrian far-right: beaten, but not defeated

Far-right candidate Norbert Hofer's loss to Green-backed Alexander Van der Bellen sent relief across Europe, but his party is still in a good position to head a government in the future.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. ACCASets Out Fifty Key Factors in the Public Sector Accountants Need to Prepare for
  2. UNICEFSchool “as Vital as Food and Medicine” for Children Caught up in Conflict
  3. European Jewish CongressEJC President Breathes Sigh of Relief Over Result of Austrian Presidential Election
  4. CESICongress Re-elects Klaus Heeger & Romain Wolff as Secretary General & President
  5. European Gaming & Betting AssociationAustrian Association for Betting and Gambling Joins EGBA
  6. ACCAWomen of Europe Awards: Celebrating the Women who are Building Europe
  7. European Heart NetworkWhat About our Kids? Protect Children From Unhealthy Food and Drink Marketing
  8. ECR GroupRestoring Trust and Confidence in the European Parliament
  9. UNICEFChild Rights Agencies Call on EU to put Refugee and Migrant Children First
  10. MIRAIA New Vision on Clean Tech: Balancing Energy Efficiency, Climate Change and Costs
  11. World VisionChildren Cannot Wait! 7 Priority Actions to Protect all Refugee and Migrant Children
  12. ANCI LazioRegio-Mob Project Delivers Analysis of Transport and Mobility in Rome