Israeli findings on Gaza flotilla raid a ‘PR exercise’

AN Irish activist caught up in the Israeli raid on a flotilla of aid ships to Gaza last year yesterday slammed an Israeli report into the attack as a “PR exercise”.

Dr Fintan Lane was one of three Irish people wrestled from vessels by Israeli commandos as a peace flotilla attempted to land with cargo in Gaza on May 31 last. Nine Turkish activists on the Turkish-owned Mavi Marmara were shot dead in the raid.

A UN report last year said the navy had shown an “unacceptable level of brutality”.

Dr Lane is part of an international committee organising a second flotilla for Gaza on March 30. He said Irish activists have bought a boat which will carry 25 people. He said all the Irish campaigners realised the Israelis were “capable of repeating” the attack.

The report, published yesterday, found the actions of the navy “to be legal, pursuant to the rules of international law”.

A member of the Free Gaza Movement and of the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Dr Lane said the report did not surprise him.

“The Israelis do what they like outside their own territory. This happened in international waters and the idea they found legal justification for that is ridiculous.

“They stand alone in believing that. The UN report before Christmas was very clear. It was an illegal act.”

Dr Lane, along with Fiachra Ó Luain and Shane Dillon, were on board Challenger 3 with an Irish-born American journalist, Paul McGeogh, when they were boarded in the raid. There were two Libyan-born Irish nationals on another boat.

Dr Lane sits on the Freedom Flotilla international committee, which has set a date for a second flotilla on March 30 which is expected to comprise 10-15 boats, carrying up to 1,000 people. This compares to six in the first flotilla.

He called on the Irish Government and the EU to support the second flotilla and to continue calling for an end to the siege of Gaza.

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