Gaza blockade: Israel deports activists from the Rachel Corrie aid ship
In stark contrast to Israel's deadly Gaza flotilla raid last week, no activists aboard the Gaza-bound Rachel Corrie humanitarian ship were killed. Israel began deporting the activists on Sunday.
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Meanwhile, a preliminary autopsy report released by Turkey on Saturday shows that all but one of those killed in the May 31 raid had multiple gunshot wounds.Skip to next paragraph
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The nine were shot a total of 30 times, reports the Associated Press. Israel says the activists attacked commandos as they boarded the ship, and has released video of them beating the soldiers as they descended ropes from helicopters onto the ship.
The AP also reports that UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will move to launch an international investigation of the raid, despite Israel’s protests. His move comes as the incident has provoked renewed criticism of the Gaza blockade around the world.
Israel closed the borders to Gaza when the Islamist group Hamas took control of Gaza in 2007. But The Christian Science Monitor reports that Israel is now considering relaxing the siege as pressure mounts from all corners.
[T]he intensified foreign calls against the blockade in the wake of Israel's flotilla raid has strengthened domestic critics who had already been arguing for a rethink of Israel's three-year-old policy. Under the policy, only humanitarian food and medical supplies – less than what the UN recommends – are allowed into Gaza.
Yossi Alpher, former adviser to Prime Minister Ehud Barak, says that Monday's raid takeover is evidence of his claim that Israel needs to define a new strategy for dealing with Gaza's Hamas-controlled government. He says the blockade is backfiring, and the so-called quartet of peace process mediators – the US, Britain, Russia, and the United Nations – need to realize that.
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