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Freedom Flotilla participants refuse Israeli compensation for personal belongings

February 17, 2014 at 1:49 am

Participants in the 2010 Freedom Flotilla attacked by Israeli have rejected an offer of compensation for their personal belongings. Israeli commandos boarded the flagship of the Flotilla in international waters, killing eight Turkish citizens, one American – Furkan Dogan and wounding many more. The ships and passengers were taken to an Israeli port where their personal belongings were confiscated by the Israeli authorities. Nobody from any of the boats have received their belongings yet.

Lawyer Omar Khamaisi of the Mizan Foundation for Human Rights submitted a request for the personal belongings of four individuals who are Israeli citizens to be returned immediately after the Israeli attack. The request was made on behalf of Sheikh Raed Salah, the leader of the northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel; Mohammed Zaidan, the Head of the Higher Follow-up Committee for the Arab masses; Sheikh Hamad Abu Daabs, of the Islamic Movement; and activist Lubna Masarweh. Citing “security” reasons, the request was refused.

“The correspondence continued,” said Mr. Khamaisi, “until we were eventually referred to a private company, which told us that there was a dispute with the Security Services over fees for handling goods in the port.” This, he noted, contradicted the authorities’ claim that the goods could not be returned due to “technical-logistical” reasons. Nevertheless, the authorities eventually offered $500 per person compensation.

“We rejected this offer,” the lawyer said. “We have sent a letter demanding the return of all personal belongings, in full and uncompromised.”

Khamaisi pointed out that there have been allegations that soldiers stole some personal goods belonging to the passengers on the Flotilla. “The army is trying to cover this up,” he added.

According to Sheikh Raed Salah, the compensation offer is “completely unacceptable”. He pointed out that his daily diary of the trip is amongst his belongings taken by the Israelis. “This is invaluable,” said the Sheikh, “as it records details of the bloody attack carried out by the Israeli pirates against the Freedom Flotilla; all of our luggage still exists and it is ridiculous that the authorities have returned my ID card and yet claim that the luggage has been lost.” Sheikh Salah suggested that the luggage is being held by the authorities so that details of the murderous attack cannot be revealed by access to his diary.