We Came to Talk, but They Fought

One of the commandos wounded in the flotilla clash gives an eyewitness account of the lynch. “We came to speak, they came to fight.”

Tags: Flotilla
Israel National News-IDF , | updated: 11:18 AM

Flotilla soldier wounded
Flotilla soldier wounded
Israel news photo: IDF

One of the Naval Special Forces commandos who sustained a broken arm while under attack by the S.S. Mavi Marmaris’ passengers, reports, “Each soldier who descended was grabbed by three or four men and they simply exploded, beating him up. They lynched us. 

“They had metal clubs, knives, slingshots, glass bottles…At one point there was also live fire.{Click here for audio soldiers' radio reports of live fire.]

“I was among the last to descend, and I saw that the group was dispersed, everyone in his own corner surrounded by three or four men. I saw a soldier on the floor with two men beating him. I peeled them off of him and they came at me and began beating me with the clubs.  

“That’s how I broke my arm. At that moment I had no weapon in my hands, like everyone else who descended on the cables empty-handed. My paintball gun was behind me.

“They came and attacked me, I brought them down to the floor, I took a few steps back, I took out my paintball gun, they came at me, and I shot at their legs. One of the clubs destroyed my paint gun and I moved on to my pistol which was the only thing to hold against them. At this point my arm no longer functioned. 

“From the opening of the corridor, they were shooting at us the entire time with live fire”

The naval soldier also described how his unit was shot at from the entrance to the ship’s corridor: “I saw two from my group lying flat on the ground. From the opening of the corridor they were shooting at them the entire time with live fire, bullets. We identified a gun barrel, and one of us shot at the guy holding it. Afterwards we entered and he wasn’t there.  

"[They were] about 30 men; they simply came for war. We came to straighten things out, to speak to those who went downstairs, but each of us who descended was simply attacked.

“There were some from my group that were thrown to the lower floor, and the passengers took their equipment. They jumped to the water as a last resort. We were told that if they didn’t listen, we should shoot at their legs with the paintball gun. 'The pistol is only for if you really feel your life is in danger, which shouldn’t happen. It would be extremely abnormal.' But in the end, that is what happened. 

“We came with the intention of stopping the ship and taking it to Ashdod, and we did not come with the weapons we usually have; we came for something entirely different.”

Commentators in Israel have criticized the fact that many of the soldiers were equipped with pistols and paintball guns instead of being prepared for a worst case scenario where they would need rifles.