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Rachel corrie seized

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(source: Voice of the Cape Online)

 rachel corrie

The "peaceful" take-over of the Rachel Corrie ship which was en-route to Gaza to deliver much needed aid was nothing more than a publicity stunt by the Israeli government. This was the view of Greta Berlin from the Free Gaza Movement, who spoke to VOC News on Saturday from Cyprus, shortly after news broke that the Israeli military had taken command of the ship.

The Rachel Corrie was seized five days after Israeli commando’s raided the freedom flotilla during the early hours of Monday morning. During this raid nine people were killed and 20 people were injured.  "They are going to turn this into a big photo opportunity for them because it has been a huge public relations disaster for them.

"But you also have to recognize that there were six ships on Monday with 700 people on board. They beat up people on board all of those ships and not just the murders that took place on board the Turkish ship. They wanted to try and stop the flotilla from delivering aid to Gaza by making sure that they would impress upon us how violent they could be," Berlin said. PR exercise She said when it became evident to the Israeli government that the Free Gaza Movement would not stop sending to aid relief to Gaza, they had realized they had made a grave mistake. "When we did not stop and sent the next boat which was the Rachel Corrie, they realized they had made a complete disaster out of what they were doing. Now they are trying kindness and they are going to say that they treated the activist gently and they will do all kinds of photo opportunities, where they unload this cargo and they will ask the passengers whether they would like them to escort them," said Berlin. She added that this would be interesting as the Israeli government has already made an offer to escort the cargo ship as far as Eilat but not to Gaza. "They had not told the passengers that they could go into Gaza. That it is why we know that this is a big PR photo opportunity that they are going to try and let everybody know that they are a kind nation." Communication blackout According to Berlin, there is still a full communications black out and they have been unable to reach any of the 19 people aboard the cargo ship. "They have still cut off all communications. We can't reach them by phone or radio and they are forcing the captain to change course from Gaza to the Port of Ashdod. We know this only because the Israeli government has told us so." She said there are only 11 passengers on board on the ship and 8 crew members. "They are trying to break the siege on Gaza and they trying to force the world see that Israel has a blockade on Gaza, which is illegal", said Berlin. According to Berlin the movement found out that the ship was boarded as one of the members of the Perdana Peace Organisation who had tweeted that the ship had been boarded by the Israeli army. "The tweet said that they were forcefully being boarded by the Israeli military but the military had denied that they had boarded the ship at least for another 30 minutes after we received this information. But I trust the tweet that came from one of the passengers," said Berlin.