On 4 November, Socialist Party MEP, Paul Murphy, was detained by the Israeli army, along with other activists from the Freedom Waves Flotilla.
The flotilla - the Irish ship, MV Saoirse, and the Canadian ship, The Tahrir – attempted to travel to Gaza in solidarity with the suffering Palestinian people and to deliver humanitarian aid.
The Israeli Navy deployed a high-powered water cannon against the deck of the Saoirse. Here we publish a video of the Israeli navy storming the boat.
The protesters were taken into the custody of the Israeli police and the immigration authorities charged them with the “crime” of entering Israel “illegally”. In fact, they were kidnapped in international waters on their way to Gaza.
Paul Murphy MEP was able to make a three minute phone call yesterday from Givon prison, in Israel (which the prison authorities listened into). Paul gave a vivid account of the ill treatment he and his fellow prisoners endured: “Our boat was almost sunk by the manner in which it was approached and boarded by the Israeli navy. People were shackled and deprived of all personal belongings.
“In Givon prison, the authorities tried to disorientate us through sleep deprivation and the removal of our watches and the prison clock recording the wrong time. We have been given no time frame as to how long we will be kept here before the deportation trial. We were denied our right by Israeli law to contact our families within 24 hours of our arrest.
“On the basis of protest action we have engaged in our treatment has improved and we have had books and writing materials returned to us.
“We are due to meet the Irish ambassador today and have received some consular assistance. We call upon the Irish government to demand from the Israeli authorities our immediate release.
“We remain defiant and unabashed at our mission, which again has served to expose the criminal nature of the Israeli state in its blockading of Gaza from those of us who wish to provide aid in order to alleviate the poverty and suffering the people there endure.”
Israeli solidarity protests
CWI supporters in Israel are campaigning for the release of Paul and all the detained, including holding protests in Tel-Aviv and Haifa yesterday. They plan more protests today, which coincide with a four-hour general strike across the country called by the Histadrut. The Israeli CWI comrades understand that Paul and the other activists are expected to be brought in front of a judge on today, although they have no definite information, so far. Under Israeli law, this has to be done within 72 hours of arrest. Paul and others face possible deportation later this week.
The Irish Ship to Gaza Campaign has called a protest demonstration outside the Department of Foreign Affairs, Dublin, later today.
The CWI appeals to readers to immediately protest to Israeli embassies/consulate in your country or to the nearest Israeli embassy/consulate, demanding the immediate release of Paul Murphy and all other activists from the Saoirse and Tahrir.
Also, please send protests to the Givon prison authorities:
Fax number +97289193261
Phone number +972.8.919.32.60