Daily Israel Report

Meet the Martyrdom Seekers on the Gaza Flotilla

Passengers on the Gaza-bound flotilla were hoping for martyrdom; MEMRI has it from the mouths of the passengers themselves.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 6/4/2010, 1:31 PM / Last Update: 6/5/2010, 9:42 PM

Flash 90

Many passengers on the Gaza-bound ships that clashed with IDF troops this week sought “martyrdom” through battle with Israel. Their thoughts and words on Israel, Gaza, and death in battle were published by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), which gleaned the information from reports in Arab media.

MEMRI's report showed that many of the participants expressed willingness to die before embarking on their journey to Gaza, and several had written their wills.

Two of the passengers were Egyptian members of the Muslim Brotherhood, a group banned in Egypt over its support for terrorism, though it is allowed to maintain a parliamentary block. One of the two, Mohammed al-Baltaji, said just weeks before the flotilla set sail, “A nation that excels at dying will be blessed by Allah with a life of dignity and with eternal paradise.”

Al-Baltaji also spoke in praise of “resistance” - terrorists' preferred buzz word for terrorism – saying the Muslim Brotherhood “will never abandon the resistance” and “resistance is the only road map that can save Jerusalem.”

Jordan's delegation included Muslim Brotherhood members as well. Delegation member Salam al-Falahat has declared in the past, “We [in the Muslim Brotherhood] see Hamas movement in Palestine as standing at the head of the project of Arab and Islamic liberation from which the Muslim Brotherhood calls... The Muslim Brotherhood supports Hamas.”

A second Jordanian passenger, Mohammed abu-Ghanima, has written several articles in praise of Hamas, and at one point called on the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt to topple Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

Six passengers on the ships hailed from Lebanon. The Lebanese delegation was led by Dr. Hani Suleiman, a lawyer who did pro-bono work for Japanese terrorist Kozo Okamoto, and who signed a pledge supporting “armed resistance” in Lebanon, Iraq, and the Palestinian Authority.

Another passenger from Lebanon, Hussein Shaker, told media that he had participated in the flotilla in order to avenge the deaths of relatives in the Second Lebanon War. A third, Abbas Nasser, is a former employee of Hizbullah's Al-Manar TV, and now works for Al-Jazeera.

The Yemeni delegation included three Member of Parliament, one of whom was photographed on deck while brandishing a large dagger. The three are members of the Al-Islah party, which is close to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Syria's sole delegate was Shadha Barakat, who said he hoped to reach Gaza and visit the home of deceased Hamas arch-terrorist Ahmed Yassin. Barakat's husband said his wife had gone despite the danger because, “since she was a child, she has dreamed of attacking an Israeli.”

Dead Sought 'Martyrdom'
A report Thursday in the PA paper Al-Hayyat al-Jedida indicated that at least four of those killed in the clash had expressed a wish to die fighting Israel. “He regularly prayed to Allah to grant him 'shahada' [martyrdom],” recalled the wife of one of the deceased.

The friend of another of those killed, a 55-year-old from Ankara, reported that his friend “always wanted to be a martyr.” The brother-in-law of another dead Turkish passenger stated, “He was a good man. That's why he merited the honor of martyrdom. Allah granted him the death he longed for.”

One victim, Furkan Dogan, held duel Turkish-American citizenship. His father told the Turkish Anatolia news agency that he was proud of his son, who “died with honor,” adding, “I feel my son has been blessed with heaven.”