GAZA CITY, Palestine
The Israeli attack on the Turkish aid ship the Mavi Marmara in 2010 was an abominable crime that exposed Israel’s sadism amid the occupation of Gaza, a spokesman for the Palestinian resistance group Hamas said Sunday
In an interview on the 10th anniversary of the incident, Hazem Qassem said the attack on the ship, which was carrying civilian activists who aimed to break the siege on the Gaza Strip and provide relief to those trapped there, “is considered one of the most heinous crimes in the history of mankind.”
In May 2010, 10 activists on board the Mavi Marmara, including Turkish nationals and an American of Turkish origin, were killed when Israeli navy commandos stormed the ship in international waters as it sought to break a land and sea blockade on Gaza which has been in place since 2007. Some 50 others were wounded.
The ship was part of a “Gaza Freedom Flotilla” carrying humanitarian aid and construction materials for Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.
The Humanitarian Relief Foundation, a Turkish NGO, said in a statement Tuesday that prosecutors for the International Criminal Court had completed their investigation of the incident and concluded that Israel had committed “war crimes.”
The incident “confirmed the noble behavior of these martyrs, who gave their lives in defense of humanitarian principles and in support of those trapped,” Qassem said.
-International move required to lift blockade
Since Hamas won legislative elections in January 2006, Israel has imposed a blockade on Gaza’s two million residents.
Qassem said there is still solidarity against the attack on the Mavi Marmara “which is supporting our cause.” However, he noted that it appears that the crime affected a segment of the solidarity movement which refrained from reaching the Gaza Strip after the incident.
Qassem called on supporters of the Palestinian cause around the world to do “more to confront the Zionist policy supported by the US.”
Since the imposition of the Israeli blockade on the Gaza Strip, humanitarian groups around the world have been organizing land and sea convoys to break the siege of Gaza, but Israel has always hampered their efforts.
In December 2019, International Criminal Court Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda reiterated her refusal to pursue justice against Israel over the raid on the Mavi Marmara, demanding that the file be closed.
*Bassel Ibrahim contributed to this report from Ankara
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