Harrowing testimony of Israeli commandos aboard Gaza-bound ship -- 'Armed Mob lynched us'-- Unreported by NYT, WaPo

Leo Rennert
As part of its inquiry into Israel's interception of a Gaza-bound flotilla last May, an Israeli blue-ribbon commission interviewed the commandos who clambered down from a helicopter above one of the vessels, where a heavily armed mob viciously attacked and injured them, some within an inch of their lives.  When the commandos finally opened fire in self-defense, nine Turkish attackers were left dead.

Mainstream media have devoted extensive coverage to the dead Turks, but virtually none to the attacks on the Israeli commandos and to their extensive injuries.

Here are some of the accounts given by the first commandos to reach the vessel.  None of their testimony, included in the commission's report, has appeared in either the New York Times or the Washington Post.

"Upon landing on the middle deck, a mob of dozens of people attacked me and basically lynched me," the first commando, who fast-roped down to the deck, told the commission.  "They were strangling me, sticking fingers into my eyes to gouge them out of their sockets, pulling my limbs in every direction, striking me in an extremely harsh manner with clubs and metal rods, mostly on my head.  I truly felt that I was about to die, way beyond what we define as life-threatening."

After he was thrown to a lower deck, the commando said he felt "blood began streaming down my face from the wounds to my head.  The mob continued to hit me."

The second commando to rappel form the helicopter was shot in his stomach with a 9 mm. bullet.  He was operated on twice, and had to undergo physio-therapy rehabilitation.

The third commando, who commanded the Israeli forces, testified about being pulled down from the roof onto the deck and attacked -- "I was lying on the deck, there are many people above me, one of the peopele jumped on me and I felt a sharp pain in the lower abdomen.  I put my hand there and I felt a knife, and I realized that I'd been stabbed.  I instinctively pulled the knife out of my abdomen.

"I found myself facing all of the people surrounding me.  They have axes, knives, metal ples and clubs.  It's a matter of a second or two before they reach me.  I manage to cock my weapon (a mini-Uzi) and release two bullets.  People immediately reach me, grab the weapon from me, and hit me with full force with poles and clubs."

The fourth commando testified that "four terrorists jumped onto me while one of them wrapped the chain around my neck and strangled me.  I lost consciousness, I saw stars."  When he awoke, he was airborne -- the assailants had thrown him from the roof to the bridge deck.

The fifth commando was shot in the right knee.  Prior to that, he testified, he was surrounded and beaten all over his body by the Turkish activists, one of whom used a large camera tripod to hit him.  He later underwent operations to treat the bullet wound and head and stomach trauma.

The captain of the Marmara, Mehmut Torel, testified that he had been surprised by large number of weapons the activists had succeeded in creating and that he repeatedly asked them to "behave civilly.  I thought that because there were civilians on board nothing would happen."

None of this, however, is news that's fit to print in the New York Times and the Washington Post.
As part of its inquiry into Israel's interception of a Gaza-bound flotilla last May, an Israeli blue-ribbon commission interviewed the commandos who clambered down from a helicopter above one of the vessels, where a heavily armed mob viciously attacked and injured them, some within an inch of their lives.  When the commandos finally opened fire in self-defense, nine Turkish attackers were left dead.

Mainstream media have devoted extensive coverage to the dead Turks, but virtually none to the attacks on the Israeli commandos and to their extensive injuries.

Here are some of the accounts given by the first commandos to reach the vessel.  None of their testimony, included in the commission's report, has appeared in either the New York Times or the Washington Post.

"Upon landing on the middle deck, a mob of dozens of people attacked me and basically lynched me," the first commando, who fast-roped down to the deck, told the commission.  "They were strangling me, sticking fingers into my eyes to gouge them out of their sockets, pulling my limbs in every direction, striking me in an extremely harsh manner with clubs and metal rods, mostly on my head.  I truly felt that I was about to die, way beyond what we define as life-threatening."

After he was thrown to a lower deck, the commando said he felt "blood began streaming down my face from the wounds to my head.  The mob continued to hit me."

The second commando to rappel form the helicopter was shot in his stomach with a 9 mm. bullet.  He was operated on twice, and had to undergo physio-therapy rehabilitation.

The third commando, who commanded the Israeli forces, testified about being pulled down from the roof onto the deck and attacked -- "I was lying on the deck, there are many people above me, one of the peopele jumped on me and I felt a sharp pain in the lower abdomen.  I put my hand there and I felt a knife, and I realized that I'd been stabbed.  I instinctively pulled the knife out of my abdomen.

"I found myself facing all of the people surrounding me.  They have axes, knives, metal ples and clubs.  It's a matter of a second or two before they reach me.  I manage to cock my weapon (a mini-Uzi) and release two bullets.  People immediately reach me, grab the weapon from me, and hit me with full force with poles and clubs."

The fourth commando testified that "four terrorists jumped onto me while one of them wrapped the chain around my neck and strangled me.  I lost consciousness, I saw stars."  When he awoke, he was airborne -- the assailants had thrown him from the roof to the bridge deck.

The fifth commando was shot in the right knee.  Prior to that, he testified, he was surrounded and beaten all over his body by the Turkish activists, one of whom used a large camera tripod to hit him.  He later underwent operations to treat the bullet wound and head and stomach trauma.

The captain of the Marmara, Mehmut Torel, testified that he had been surprised by large number of weapons the activists had succeeded in creating and that he repeatedly asked them to "behave civilly.  I thought that because there were civilians on board nothing would happen."

None of this, however, is news that's fit to print in the New York Times and the Washington Post.