Gaza: a prison of 1,5 million
Israel began to impose a series of political and economic sanctions on Gaza following the Palestinian elections in February 2006. These sanctions became harsher as of 2007. Gaza was blockaded from the air, land and sea as of 2007 and free movement of people and goods was restricted. During its Cast Lead Operation which lasted for 22 days between late 2008 and early 2009, Israel ravaged all the agricultural fields, schools, work places and houses in the city, depriving Gazans of their living resources. 


Still, 1, 5 million Palestinians struggle for life in Gaza which is like an open prison. Seventy-two percent of Gazans, 65 percent whom are children, live on the hunger limit. 10 percent of the children have poor physical health. United Nations terms this situation as “intolerable.”


World's conscience manifests in this flotilla
Six international non-governmental organizations including the IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation, Free Gaza Movement, European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza, Ship to Gaza Greece, Ship to Gaza Sweden and The International Committee to Lift the Siege on Gaza established an aid flotilla in May 2010 to take 6,000 tons of donated aid supplies to Gaza. In addition to humanitarian aid, 750 peace activists were onboard the flotilla. Among the activists who came from 37 countries such as Germany, Kuwait, Israel, Ireland, Sweden, Greece, Greek Cyprus, Morocco, Yemen, Egypt and Algeria there were more than 15 deputies, more than 60 international press members, artists and winners of Nobel Peace Prize

 

Israel attacked civilians
Defne, Gazze I, Eleftheri Mesogios, Sfendoni, Challenger I and Mavi Marmara met off the coast of Cyprus on May 30. As the flotilla was sailing through Gaza, it was surrounded by four Israeli war frigates, three helicopters, two submarines and 30 zodiac boats in the morning hours of May 31. Fully-equipped Israeli commandoes raided the Mavi Marmara, the flagship of the flotilla, at 4:32 am as it was sailing in international waters and the soldiers attacked unarmed civilians onboard the ship with plastic bullets and live ammunition. The Israeli soldiers killed nine peaceful activists, eight Turks and one Turkish-American, while they heavily injured 56 others. Israeli soldiers cut off communications from the ship; however, the video of the attack was live broadcast without their notice, which enabled the entire world to witness the Israeli cruelty.


All the activists were taken to the deck of the ship, their hands were tied, they were not given any food and they were not even allowed to go to WC. Their personal belongings were also seized. Although 750 peaceful activists were captured out of their will, they are arrested over charges of entering Israel without permission. The flotilla ships were taken to the Ashdod Port near Tel Aviv. The activists were searched for numerous times there. Under tight security measures, their photos were taken and their fingerprints were recorded. They were made to undergo eye scans and interrogated. Following these, the activists were taken to Beer-Sheva Prison. They were not allowed to communicate with each other or make a phone call outside.

 

The activists were released two days after the attack following intense diplomatic traffic.


The incidents taking place at the Mavi Marmara on May 31 were like a summary of those taking place in Palestine which included subjection to psychological and physical violence, being captured by the use of force, being kidnapped, being arrested, getting injured, being left hungry, denial of communication and being killed.

 

Palestinians have been living with such tyrannies for 63 years.