Freed Free Gaza Activist, Dr. Hasan Nowarah, Justice for Palestine Center in Glasgow: First Hand Witness Account of Israeli Attack and Raid on Flotilla / Turkish Marmara Ship
An activist caught up in the storming of the Gaza aid flotilla by Israeli soldiers has described the attack after arriving home in Scotland.
Last updated 2 Jun 2010 – 3:15 pm
Glasgow resident Hasan Nowarah was one of at least four Scots with the convoy when it was taken by commandos. Theresa McDermott, from Edinburgh, Hassan Ghani, from Glasgow, and Ali El-Awaisi, from Dundee, were also onboard.
Mr Nowarah, chairman of the Justice for Palestine Centre in Glasgow, was deported from Israel on Tuesday night after the flotilla was intercepted. He flew into London and then made his way home to Glasgow.
He said Israeli ships surrounded the convoy on Saturday night before the attack, playing “cat and mouse games” with the Mavi Marmara ship. He said: “The warships and their zodiacs were approaching us slowly, slowly, but no confrontation. They were communicating with our captains through the radios, warning us to turn back. But we explained to them we are in the international water. We are not attacking Israel, we are humanitarian aid, we are sailing to Gaza.”
Mr Nowarah then saw Israeli soldiers storm the Mavi Marmara ship before they boarded the ship he was on.
He said: “We looked at the Marmara ship, we can see the Israeli helicopters dropping soldiers and screaming and shouting, bullets firing all over the place. Within seconds we can hear ‘tick tick tick’ around our ship. It turned out they were using paintballing guns they were shooting at us. We all went up, running to prevent them in a peaceful manner from entering the ship.
“I had an ambassador sitting beside me, he was pushed by Israeli soldiers, I went and I stood between them and he pushed me with his M16, he smacked me in the back of my back and I fall down. He hit me with his rifle to my ligament.”
Mr Nowarah said he suffered a ligament injury to his leg, and believes that is why he was deported so quickly.
He added: “Our mission is to deliver human and medical aid to the people who have been under the blockade for the last four years. The aim from our flotilla was to help these people and to break the siege.”
Israeli officials said the death toll was nine, but some reports put it as high as 19. Israel insists its forces retaliated against an attack by people on board the aid flotilla, who it said were armed with weapons including knives and guns. The Foreign Office said several British nationals were detained by Israeli authorities following the incident, but it was not aware of any British nationals being killed in the raid.
© Press Association 2010