Malaysian national after being deported from Israel
Photo: AP

'Rachel Corrie' activists: We failed, world must act

Cuban, six Malaysians who took part in aid sail that was intercepted by IDF on way to Gaza greeted with chants of 'Allahu Akbar' in Jordan. 'International community must end Israeli blockade,' they say

Israel deported to Jordan on Sunday seven of those who were on board the Rachel Corrie aid ship which tried to run the Israeli blockade of Gaza, an AFP correspondent at the border said.


A Cuban and six Malaysians -- Member of Parliament Mohd Nizar Zakaria, two TV3 television journalists and three staff of the Perdana Global Peace organization -- crossed the Allenby Bridge into the kingdom and were received by Jordanian officials. They were also greeted with chants of 'Allahu Akbar (God is great)'.


"We are very disappointed because the whole idea was to get to Gaza. We should emphasize that we came with a message of hope and peace," Mattias Chang of Perdana told AFP.


"They did not use force with us. There was no necessity to use force against us."


Chang said the organization, chaired by former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad, will try to go to Gaza again.


"We will not stop. We will try to have another mission to bring aid to Gaza and break the siege. Israelis, Palestinians, all must come together and stop the violence," he said.


"We are very sad for the loss of lives. I think that a clear message should be sent to Israel through the media of the world: Don't do that any more, don't use the gun."


Shamsur Akmar, a Malaysian national, recounted the IDF takeover. "The vessel was seized by 40 to 50 soldeirs. We weren't violent, we were very calm. We sat at the center of the boat and the soldiers just paced around us. They were masked and armed to the teeth. The searched the boat and then steered it to Ashdod."

Activist and soldier on Rachel Corrie (Photo: IDF Spokesperson's Unit)


Eleven others detained on board the aid ship by Israeli troops were due to fly out of Ben Gurion international airport near Tel Aviv. They comprise Irish nationals, including Nobel Peace laureate Mairead Maguire, six Filipinos and the ship's Scottish captain.


Israeli forces intercepted and seized control of the Rachel Corrie on Saturday as it tried to reach the Gaza Strip, without use of force like that on Monday when nine people were killed as commandos stormed an aid flotilla.


"We are very sad for the people of Gaza. We wanted to go there and help in any way to bring them the aid," Chang's colleague Ahmad Faizal said.


"We are very relieved now that we are able to go back home. The Israelis have made us wait under the burning sun for several hours."


The Irish-owned 1,200-ton Rachel Corrie was escorted into the southern Israeli port of Ashdod, and the activists and crew taken to Holon immigration center near Tel Aviv for questioning before being deported.


Ahmaz Faiz el-Azumu, a Malaysian national, said, "I know, as does the entire world, that we could not deliver the aid to Gaza. We failed to carry out this mission. For now, we want the internatikonal community to say: Stop the blockade and allow the people of Gaza to live like everyone else."


Israel also deported an Indonesian journalist on Sunday who had been among the passengers wounded on Monday in the interception of the flotilla.


Surya Fachrizal, 28, "was shot in the upper right chest," an Indonesian embassy official said, adding that the journalist was to be admitted to hospital in the Jordanian capital Amman before being flown home.


A group of Fachrizal's Indonesian friends, who had been among 126 people deported by Israel to Jordan on Wednesday, gave him a warm welcome at the border, chanting "Allahu Akbar" and carrying national flags.


Monday's operation has sparked global outrage, and many countries, including Jordan, which singed a 1994 peace treaty with Israel, have called for an international probe.


Israel has blockaded the impoverished and overcrowded Gaza Strip since militants captured a soldier in a deadly cross-border raid in 2006. It further tightened its grip after the Islamist Hamas movement seized control of the territory the following year.


UN Under Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes has said the disastrous raid should be used as an opportunity to press Israel to change its policy on Gaza.


"We very much want to see what's happened -- or use what's happened, tragic as it is -- as an opportunity to try to ... persuade Israel to change policy," Holmes told AFP in Sydney, describing the blockade as "unacceptable, counterproductive, (and) very damaging for the people of Gaza."


AFP and Reuters contributed to the report 


פרסום ראשון: 06.06.10, 22:49
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