October 21, 2012

EXCLUSIVE: Photos from the aid boat hijacked by Israel


These are exclusive photos taken on board the Estelle, as the ship was sailing toward Gaza in an attempt to break Israel’s siege on the coastal territory. The Israeli navy took over the ship before it reached its destination, and arrested some twenty activists, among them three Israeli citizens.

Huge efforts were made by the Israeli Occupation Forces spokesperson to curtail media coverage of the story. The ship was brought into the Ashdod Port after dark, more than ten hours after the Israeli forces took it over. Later that night, the Israeli citizens under arrest were brought to a police station through a back door, to prevent media from covering their arrival. The Israeli Occupation Forces spokesman told Israeli media there was no humanitarian aid on the boat, as claimed by activists, but refused to release documentation to support his claims.

The photos show the hours before the ship was intercepted, and minutes before the Israeli Occupation Forces takeover. The activists are seen releasing pigeons towards the Israeli forces. The last photo shows Israeli naval commandos advancing towards the ship, and we can assume that it was not possible to continue shooting afterwards. According to testimonies given by the arrested activists, Israeli Occupation Forces used taser guns during the takeover. All international activists are held in captivity in Apartheid Israel.

The Estelle is carrying 30 activists from Europe, Canada and Israel, including five parliamentarians from Sweden, Norway, Spain and Greece, humanitarian cargo such as two olive trees, 41 tons of cement, 300 footballs, orthopedic and medical equipment, children's books, musical instruments, theatre equipment and a radio.

An Israeli Navy boat approaches the Estelle as it attempts to break the naval blockade of Gaza.

Pro-Palestinian activists aboard the SV Estelle watch as Israeli Navy boats approach.

Pro-Palestinian activists aboard the Estelle catch sight of approaching Israeli Navy boats off the coast of Gaza.

Pro-Palestinian activists placing a dove into a cage. Some 30 doves were to be released as a symbolic act upon arriving in Gaza.

Pro-Palestinian activists hold a discussion aboard the Estelle boat.

Pro-Palestinian activists share a meal aboard the Estelle.

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