Terrorists on the Mavi Marmara
Terrorists on the Mavi Marmara Israel news photo: Flash 90

Israeli officials have denied allegations made in a UN commission's report, that international pro-Hamas activists detained on the Mavi Marmara in the “Gaza flotilla” incident were abused.

In testimony before the Turkel Committee Monday, Interior Ministry official Yossi Edelstein, who was in charge of processing the detainees, said they had all been treated "with restraint and respect."

The Associated Press reported that Edelstein also said he had received no formal complaints about mistreatment of detainees.

The UN report accused Israel of "extreme and unprovoked violence" against detainees it took from the Gaza-bound flotilla of Hamas sympathizers on May 31. Hundreds of activists were detained but all foreign detainees were deported within several days. Critics of the government complained at the time that the activists were released too hastily and that those who took part in violence against IDF soldiers should have been detained further and put on trial.

Israel chose to end the affair as quickly as possible. In hindsight, military leaders said that the navy had made bad decisions when planning the takeover of the Marmara and had not received good intelligence regarding the passengers of the Mavi Marmara – or received intelligence but ignored it. The commandos were not expecting serious resistance and when the they were brutally attacked, they eventually had to use lethal force to save their lives.

Nine of the attackers were killed and pro-Hamas forces used the incident to depict Israel as a cruel country.