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.


Hezbollah responds to Netanyahu with a media tour of steel factory

Updated 01 October 2020

Hezbollah responds to Netanyahu with a media tour of steel factory

  • The local and international media accompanied the official of media relations in Hezbollah

BEIRUT: A few hours after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Hezbollah, during his speech to the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, of having "secret headquarters in the southern suburbs of Beirut," the party organized a media tour of the Jnah area that Netanyahu referred to, to deny the information he provided.

Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah responded to Netanyahu in a live speech on Tuesday night, and called on the air the media to tour the facility that Netanyahu talked about and said: "We do not place our missiles, neither in the Beirut port, nor near a gas station, nor between homes, and we know." Well, where should we place our missiles? "

The local and international media accompanied the official of media relations in Hezbollah, Muhammad Afif, to the facility that Netanyahu talked about in Jnah area and it turned out to be a steel-cutting factory and said: "We are not scouts for the enemy and we do not provide him with information, but this tour aims to reveal that these facilities have no connection with storage Weapons of resistance. "

The media tour accompanied by supporters of the party chanting for Nasrallah, during which Muhammad Afif said: "The enemy's claims are false, and this industrial facility has existed for decades."

The owner of the industrial facility in the Janah, who came in hastily at night to open the plant to the media, said: "This is a steel-cutting factory. We have workers and we work normally. Our doors are always open to everyone, and there are no missiles in it as you can see."

This plant is located in the industrial area of ​​Jnah, on the administrative borders of Beirut. Netanyahu had said of it that has "missile depots a meter away from gas depots near Beirut airport."

In information released by its spokesman, Avichai Adrai, the Israeli army identified two additional sites, which he claimed "Hezbollah used to manufacture parts for precision-guided missiles."

“One of the two sites is an underground facility built under four seven-story residential buildings in which 70 families live in the Al-Laylaki neighborhood east of Beirut International Airport, and next to it is a church and a medical center, and the second facility is under a complex of five residential buildings in which about 50 families live in Choueifat, located about 90 meters from a mosque.