Gaza-bound activists fight deportation from Israel


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Pro-Palestinian activists from two Gaza-bound ships intercepted by Israel’s Navy are fighting their deportation and remain in Israeli custody.

The ships, one Canadian and one Irish, had a total of 27 passengers and reportedly carried a symbolic amount of medical supplies and letters of solidarity for Gazans. They were intercepted and taken to Israel’s Ashdod port on Nov. 4.

The Israeli military said the boarding was conducted without any injuries, although a Canadian activist told the Canadian media that he was Tasered and bruised as he was removed from the boat. An Arab-Israeli student from Haifa, Majid Kial, said the commandos pointed a gun at his head. Israel’s military has denied the accusations.

Kial, two Greek crewmen, and journalists from Egypt, Spain and the United States were returned to their homes on Saturday. The 21 activists still in Israeli custody are from Australia, Britain, Canada, Ireland and the United States, according to the French news service AFP. They will have a hearing in front of a judge within 72 hours, according to reports.  

Some of the Navy commandos that took part in the operation also were part of the 2010 raid on the Turkish ship the Mavi Marmara,  according to Ynet, in which nine Turkish nationals were killed.

Israeli authorities said the attempt to break the Gaza blockade is merely trying to embarrass Israel and undermine its security.

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