Lawsuit: IDF 'breached US territory' in Marmara

Americans and Belgian sue Israel in US federal court for raid on US-registered vessel - which came as it breached naval blockade in 2010.

Ari Yashar ,

Mavi Marmara
Mavi Marmara
Defense Ministry Spokesperson

A new twist has appeared in the legal attempts to attack the IDF for defending the maritime blockade of Gaza in the infamous 2010 Mavi Marmara incident, as radical activists sued Israel for "breaching US territory" in the raid.

Three Americans and a Belgian who took part in the breach of the naval blockade launched a civil suit to a US federal court on Monday in Washington, reports The New Arab on Wednesday. The blockade is a legal measure according to international law meant to prevent the influx of weapons to Gazan terrorists.

Aside from suing the Israeli government for injuries allegedly suffered during the IDF raid after the Marmara flotilla refused repeated requests to turn around, the four put a new spin on their lawsuit, noting that they were on a US-registered ship.

The four activists claim they were shot with rubber bullets, tasered and handcuffed while aboard the American-flagged Challenger I ship, part of the six-vessel Marmara flotilla.

"I was screaming to them, 'this is an American ship!' There was shooting all over the place and I was afraid a gun would go off in my face," claimed Huwaida Arraf, one of the four plaintiffs who is a lawyer and anti-Israel activist. "I was dragged and my head was pounded into the boat. They had me handcuffed and hooded and pinned to the deck. They were really rough and I was screaming."

Another of the four, David Schermerhorn, claims to have suffered permanent eye damage in the raid, and Margriet Deknopper of Belgium claimed her nose was broken by a rubber bullet.

The lawsuit argues that since the vessel was registered in the US, the raid was a "breach of US sovereignty" - despite the fact that the vessel was itself breaching a legal naval blockade at the time.

In the Marmara incident, IDF soldiers were forced to board flotilla after the mostly Turkish ships ignored repeated warnings to stop their breach.

On the Mavi Marmara, the largest of the six ships, the soldiers were brutally attacked and wounded by Turkish IHH Islamist extremists on board wielding knives and metal bars, and had no choice but to open fire, killing ten of the IHH members on board.

After an investigation, Israeli authorities discovered the vessel to be carrying no humanitarian aid, despite the flotilla's claims that it was on a "humanitarian" mission.

Israel lets in hundreds of tons of food and other goods to Gaza through its border crossings, leading many to surmise the flotilla was meant merely to open naval routes for weapons smuggling into Gaza in a direct threat to Israel's security.