Seized Gaza ship captain accuses Israel of breaking international law

Israeli navy ships maneuver at the military port of Ashdod, southern Israel, on July 29, 2018 before intercepting a Norwegian boat carrying pro-Palestinian activists en route to Gaza. (AFP file photo)
Updated 02 August 2018

Seized Gaza ship captain accuses Israel of breaking international law

  • Israeli naval forces intercepted the Norwegian-flagged Karstein ship carrying pro-Palestinian activists en route to Gaza last Sunday
  • Several have been released since, but seven people, includingtwo Norwegians, were still detained as of Thursday

OSLO, Norway: The captain of a Norwegian boat carrying pro-Palestinian activists en route to Gaza has accused Israeli authorities of violating the law by boarding the vessel in international waters and using violent force against its crew.

Norway has asked Israel to explain the circumstances surrounding the arrests and “the allegations of excessive use of force,” a Norwegian government spokesman said on Thursday.

“We were arrested in international waters and we were closer to Egypt than Israel,” the boat’s captain Herman Reksten said early Thursday when he returned to Norway after being held for three days in an Israeli prison.

“Israel has broken all the rules, it’s horrific that they board a Norwegian ship in international waters and force it to moor in Israel,” he told Norwegian public broadcaster NRK.

The Israeli army on Sunday announced the seizure of a boat off the Gaza Strip with activists who were denouncing the land and sea blockade imposed by the Jewish state on the Palestinian enclave for more than a decade.

The Norwegian-flagged Karstein ship had 22 people on board.

Several have been released since, but seven people — two Norwegians, two Swedes, one French, one Spaniard and one Canadian — were still detained on Thursday according to the rights organization Just Future for Palestine.

As he arrived at Oslo International Airport, Karstein captain Herman Reksten also accused Israeli soldiers of shocking the activists with tasers.

“I still have a headache from being hit in prison,” he added.

Contacted by AFP, the Israeli Embassy in Oslo was not immediately available for comment.

“We’ve asked the Israeli authorities to clarify the course of events and on what basis they think they are entitled to intervene on the ship,” Norwegian Foreign Ministry spokesman Frode Andersen told AFP in an email.

“We will also raise the allegations of excessive use of force,” he added.

Oslo says it has not yet received a response.


Dawn of a new leader, Kuwait’s new emir sworn in and pledges to do his ‘utmost best’

Updated 22 min 5 sec ago

Dawn of a new leader, Kuwait’s new emir sworn in and pledges to do his ‘utmost best’

  • The new Emir said the country’s constitution ensured a “smooth transition” of leadership
  • He succeeds his brother Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah who ruled Kuwait since 2006

DUBAI: Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabeh has been sworn in as the new Kuwait Emir on Wednesday, vowing to carry out his responsibilities to his utmost best, state news agency KUNA has reported.
Al-Sabah said the country’s constitution ensured a “smooth transition” of leadership, as the country mourned the death of his brother Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah who ruled Kuwait since 2006.
“The trust bestowed upon me by the Kuwaiti people is a trust I bear in my neck,” the new Emir said.

(AFP)

“Kuwait has been subjected, throughout its long history, to serious and harsh challenges that we managed to overcome through cooperation,” he added.

Al-Sabah paid tribute to the previous leadership and said “Sheikh Sabah’s policy will remain a highlight for us.”
The Speaker of the Kuwaiti National Assembly Marzouq Al-Ghanim also spoke at the ceremony.
“We are confident that Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah will lead Kuwait to prosperity,” he said.

His appointment was immediately welcomed by Saudi Arabia’s King Salman, who said that his country and Kuwait have always had strong bonds throughout the years.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi and Iraq’s Bahram Salih also congratulated the Sheikh Nawaf on his new role.