VIDEO - Nearly two weeks after the Israel Navy commandos commandeered the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara, new video documentation of the event was released on Friday that is exceptional in its quality and scope. The video shows the moments in which the clashes between the IDF and the ship's passengers started.
The video, which is 15 minutes long in its full-length version, was taken by American director Iara Lee, who participated in the flotilla.
Brazilian media outlets that published the footage reported that the director, a documentary filmmaker of Korean descent, succeeded in hiding the footage, thus enabling her to prevent its confiscation by the IDF.
Among the images documented in the clip are clearly visible blood stains on the walls of one of the ship's compartments as gunshots are heard in the background. In addition, Knesset Member Hanin Zoabi (Balad) can be seen sitting with her flotilla colleagues on the deck a moment before the first of the commandos reaches the scene.
Those attacking the soldiers can be seen holding slingshots as they await the helicopter's arrival.
Captain: I was unaware of weapons
While supporters of the Marmara passengers continue to claim that the IDF initiated the violence on the ship's deck, Israel issued additional proof on Friday regarding the true intentions of the "peace activists" on board.
Two testimonies provided by two members of the ship's crew show that preparations for the clash with the IDF were started two hours before the first Navy commandos landed on deck and just a short time after the Navy instructed the ship's captain to stop.
In the testimonies, published by the Foreign Ministry for the first time since the raid, the two crew members said that there was an especially tense atmosphere among the activists who convened on the main deck. They noticed that members of the Turkish group IHH had sawed off the ship's railings in order to make metal clubs. This activity, said the crew members, worried them, and they even tried to oppose the passengers, but to no avail.
"I asked the ship what is happening, and he said they are cutting sticks and chains and collecting them, putting them in the radio room on the bridge," said Mahmut Tuval, the captain of the Marmara, during his testimony of the events.
He then proceeded to describe how the passengers went into the room and took the metal clubs they had fashioned from the bridge as the IDF soldiers were landing on the deck. He said that of the clubs he saw, he threw some into the sea and stored others. He said he was unaware that there was a considerable amount of weaponry there.
When asked whether the activists had made preparations prior to the violent clash with the commandos, he responded in the affirmative. He said that he had warned them, saying that the people on the ship had come to protest, and asked the other captain on the ship to go and collect the sawed off clubs.
Both the video clips were uploaded to the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center in order to serve media outlets and the Israeli PR efforts of various State delegations abroad. This site is considered highly reliable because it uploads material in its raw form, without any editing.
Recently, the IDF released a video clip captured from the Marmara's video cameras documenting the ship's passengers making their final preparations for the ensuing violent confrontation with the IDF. They can be seen collecting slingshots and shards of broken bottles just moments before the initial contact with the commandos.
Roni Sofer contributed to this report