Ynet: 75 percent of flotilla passengers had a ‘knife in hand’

on 56 Comments

This is the latest and "greatest" Israeli version of events. It has been on the Hebrew site at YNet for hours. Funny, the English version makes it more clear that the captain is referring to all of the hundreds on board when he says "each one with a knife in his hand."

How does he know this?"

‘I cocked my weapon when I saw that one was coming towards me with a knife drawn and I fired once. Then another 20 people came at me from all directions and threw me down to the deck below’

In the first interview since he was wounded in Monday’s raid on the flotilla, Captain R, who commanded the troops who boarded the Marmara via helicopter, spoke of the battle that took place on vessel.

According to R, hundreds of people who were on the boat took part in attacking him and his soldiers and they were forced to use weapons because of danger to their lives.

It has to be complete BS, but Israel is good at selling BS. By the way, it’s playing well with the Hebrew Ynet readers (from the comments.)

The commander R praises the mission and even gives the old "purity of arms" gloss: "R said that some 75% of the people in [sic] the vessel resisted violently, ‘each one with a knife in his hand.’"

Update: Washington Post is saying the same stuff!!! Its editorial:

THE ISRAELI commandos who landed on the deck of the Turkish ferry Mavi Marmara off the coast of the Gaza Strip early Monday were totally unprepared for what they encountered: dozens of militants who swarmed around them with knives and iron bars.

56 Responses

  1. ddi
    June 1, 2010, 10:37 am

    Yeah this is definitely garbage

    Here is a collection of all the knives they’ve found. Certainly NOT enough for 75% of the passengers.

    link to idfspokesperson.files.wordpress.com

    • aparisian
      June 1, 2010, 10:45 am

      Thats kitchen knives, is this what the rogue state call weapons? i have one of these knives in my kitchen so now i can be considered terrorist no?

    • Colin Murray
      June 1, 2010, 10:48 am

      If there had been hundreds of knives used against them, they would have been stacked up to make a more convincing victory trophy than the pathetic pictures the IDF has released thus far.

    • annie
      June 1, 2010, 11:01 am

      from this morning nyt

      In his live-blog post, Mr. Sheizaf wrote that Channel 10, an Israeli television station, reported that the Israeli military had completed a search of the ship and “no weapons discovered except for the two pistols that were taken from the soldiers.” Later in the day an Israeli military Web site posted a photograph of knives and sticks that were found on the ship where civilians were shot and killed.

      this is from the same site @ ddi’s

  2. DavidSiden
    June 1, 2010, 10:43 am

    ddi, my favorite comment for all the anti Israel haters on here.

    2. Attention All Leftists. Attention All Leftists.

    “– we didn’t expect this. Everyone wanted to kill us. We encountered terrorists who wanted to kill us…”

    These were no peace-loving, humanitarian people who came to save the poor Gazans.

    These were terrorists who wanted to kill Jews.

    Poor R, you were mislead by your ill-informed commanders. Get well quick

    • Mooser
      June 1, 2010, 10:56 am

      “Poor R, you were mislead by your ill-informed commanders. “

      David Siden, I may forgive you for not joining the IDF and rising to the rank and position to be in charge of this operation, and informing the soldiers correctly about the terrorists they faced, so they could use the appropriate force to avoid being slaughtered, but God won’t!
      And the Jewish people won’t either! Traitor! Why weren’t you there? You left those poor IDF commandos at the mercy of their anti-Zionist commanders! Schmuck!

      David Siden, you know as well as I that Israel needs men, commanders with spines of iron! With no illusions about the monsters they face. But I’m sure they’ll take a nut with a stick up his ass, so why weren’t you there?


      • Colin Murray
        June 1, 2010, 11:00 am

        Hehe, good job, Mooser. There are few things in this world more worthy of contempt than the pitiable cowardice of chickenhawks.

      • Mooser
        June 1, 2010, 11:07 am

        David Siden, the chicken-soup chicken-hawk!

    • ddi
      June 1, 2010, 11:00 am

      Have you thought that maybe these people believed the commandos wanted to harm them, and thus reacted violently?

    • potsherd
      June 1, 2010, 11:00 am

      ignore demented person

    • Chu
      June 1, 2010, 11:04 am

      David Siden is back. Your cowardly posts used to amuse me. I see you’re embracing the Manly Israeli inside of you. You go Dave.
      Don’t let the haters get in your way of progress.

      BTW: what happened to your crappy link which
      posted your drivel articles from the echo

  3. Mooser
    June 1, 2010, 10:49 am

    , “each one with a knife in his hand.'”

    And some were armed with sporks! And had brown paper bags for shields.

    Going up against knives with automatic weapons and covering fire if needed, from machine guns on helicopters, with rockets in reserve! And as part of a co-ordinated attack which is backed by long training.

    Wow! Those brave Israelis! How did they avoid being massacred? Good Lord, what if somebody had thrown a knife at one of the helicopters!

    • Psychopathic god
      June 1, 2010, 10:55 am

      nobody ever taught IDF fundamental lesson?

      never take a gun to a knife-fight

      • Mooser
        June 1, 2010, 11:02 am

        No, no Psycho, I’ve seen video of the event. It was awful the way their peyas got caught in the rappelling ropes, their hats flew off, and their caftans blew up in their faces. Besides, the Israelis were hampered by carrying full size Torahs, and had their phylacteries on too tight, besides being undersized puny guys, with hunched backs and poor eyesight from years of studying the Talmud by candlelight. Can’t you just see them, blinking in the glare from the boats deck-lights, while the terrorist closed in with their knives. “Just don’t hurt the Torah” was the last thing anyone heard them say!

    • Seham
      June 1, 2010, 10:58 am

      sporks. hahaha.

  4. edwin
    June 1, 2010, 10:51 am

    ‘I cocked my weapon when I saw that one was coming towards me with a knife drawn and I fired once. Then another 20 people came at me from all directions and threw me down to the deck below’

    Deliberate attempt at producing panic – Dark – lots of tension – no night goggles – illegal invasion of Turkish territory on the high seas…

    Lets pretend that his description is correct. So most people would be unaware of an individual with a knife, but the gunshot would be quite noticeable – in fact the assumption would be that this is some nazi hothead who is going to start killing people. So 20 people threw him to the deck below. Sounds restrained to me actually.

    So, after creating the impression that they were murdering people in cold blood they whine when some people decide to fight for their lives.

  5. Colin Murray
    June 1, 2010, 10:57 am

    I read an excellent comment by Jason Ditz which I will paraphase.

    “Israeli claims of self-defense as an excuse for shooting passengers on the flotilla are akin to a bank robber claiming self-defense for shooting a clerk for throwing a roll of pennies at him.”

  6. Nevada Ned
    June 1, 2010, 10:59 am

    The Israeli government is now claiming that every passenger had a knife.

    I wonder what kind of deadly weapon was wielded by Hedy Epstein, 85-year-old Holocaust survivor, a passenger on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla.

    Maybe a carrot-peeler? Would you believe a can-opener?

    • annie
      June 1, 2010, 12:31 pm

      hedy stayed behind, she is now on the rachel corrie. i recieved this email this morning

      The boat “Rachel Corrie” and another boat are headed for Gaza and should reach in about 3-4 days. The boat is likely to include Hedy Epstein, a holocaust survivor.

      We need to publicize these boats the best we can.

      keep em comin’

  7. Shmuel
    June 1, 2010, 11:00 am

    I think this captain fellow is also trying to save face. Big strong commandos, members of a highly trained elite unit, lost control of a boatload of sleeping aid volunteers. Yeah, there were lots of ’em, and they were really mean, and almost all of them – like 75% of ’em – had knives, really long, sharp knives. We barely got out with our lives!

    • Mooser
      June 1, 2010, 11:05 am

      Yeah, the Officers were crying back at the Israeli base! “Those poor kids are barely out of Cheder and they make us send them up against battle-hardened activists. They ain’t got a chance!”

    • ddi
      June 1, 2010, 11:10 am

      Shayetet 13 self defense class

      link to youtube.com

    • Colin Murray
      June 1, 2010, 11:16 am

      That’s a good point, Shmuel. I shouldn’t, but I feel sorry for the guy. (not a lot)

      He was placed in an untenable situation. It seems they were improperly equipped, probably had been fed poor intelligence resulting in an unrealistic boarding plan and rules of engagement, and worse appear to have had no fallback plan (if the first assault failed) to extricate their people in order to try to seize the ship another way. The Marmara was still a long way from Gaza. There was still plenty of time to try something else if the IDF had been more interested in avoiding casualties than in a quick victory.

  8. hophmi
    June 1, 2010, 11:01 am

    “Washington Post is saying the same stuff!!!” OMG. The Mossad must have gotten to them.

    Maybe the soldier’s account is not “complete BS.”

    Were you there? Do you have actual, verifiable facts that contradict this soldier’s account?

    • edwin
      June 1, 2010, 11:06 am

      no – and Israel is carefully preventing those who were actually there – except soldiers – from saying what happened.

      link to salon.com

      • hophmi
        June 1, 2010, 11:26 am

        OK, sure. The activists will obviously say that they did nothing, because they are not going to admit that there were armed people on board.

        You’ll believe them and I won’t and neither, apparently, will Gideon Levy, who believes that the commandos did go with paintball guns, and that this was a stupid operation in service of a stupid policy, not a deliberate attempt to kill people.

        link to abc.net.au

      • Donald
        June 1, 2010, 11:29 am

        Armed people on board? You mean the knives and rods and so forth, right? If I were planning an armed confrontation with the Israeli military, I think I’d try to bring something a little more lethal.


      • sherbrsi
        June 1, 2010, 11:32 am

        was a stupid operation in service of a stupid policy, not a deliberate attempt to kill people.

        When the Palestinians kill people, it’s terrorism. When the Israelis kill people, it’s just a “stupid” operation and “stupid” policy, and obviously the deaths are accidental, how else would the IDF be the most moral army in the world?

      • Shmuel
        June 1, 2010, 11:35 am

        I guess the Zionist apologists haven’t heard of Phil’s “laugh test”. The hasbara goons are going all out on this one. With perfectly straight faces too!

      • Shmuel
        June 1, 2010, 11:37 am

        And that Spanish clown? He was carrying Indian clubs and stilts with him. You know how dangerous those things are? And Chomsky’s pencils – man are they sharp. Good thing innocent Israelis were kept out of harm’s way.

      • Shmuel
        June 1, 2010, 11:43 am

        Seriously though, the Israeli claim is now that the fact that the passengers resisted being boarded proves that they were not peace activists on an innocent humanitarian mission to Gaza. What are they supposed to have been planning in Gaza that would have been anything but humanitarian? Distributing those chair legs and kitchen knives to the shebab to start another intifada? Training hamas guards to fight off Israeli commandos with their bare hands? What total and utter crap! The Israelis have not been able to demonstrate in any way that these were anything but members of a humanitarian aid mission. Had their ship not been boarded they would have continued to Gaza and fulfilled their non-violent mission.

      • sherbrsi
        June 1, 2010, 11:53 am

        Had their ship not been boarded they would have continued to Gaza and fulfilled their non-violent mission.


        And this is why I believe Israel planned and committed the massacre.

        Had the flotilla gone on its natural course, the entire PR campaign made by Israel after the flotilla’s journey would have been bust. And of course, the ridiculous claims made by Lieberman of the flotilla being “Islamist and Hamasist” would’ve blown in Israel’s face as reporters would have covered the Gazans receiving badly needed aid deprived to them by the Israeli siege, and broadcast it all around the world.

        The attack on the flotilla was obviously bad news for Israel, but it allowed Israel to muddle the whole affair into a conflict, to assert their ground that there was violence and a pretext to their actions. Of course, the fact that the Israelis were the aggressive and criminal party, which stated their intentions to, and actually did infiltrate and hijack the flotilla in int’l waters is lost in their consideration, for it completely devastates any credibility Israel may have had in the situation.

      • potsherd
        June 1, 2010, 12:00 pm

        When the IDF kills people, it’s proof they were terrorists. Why else would the members of the most moral army kill them?

    • Chu
      June 1, 2010, 11:19 am

      I heard when they activists boarded, they were equipped with throwing darts, and Chinese stars.

      But soldiers can see lots of things in the dark. Do you think these knives were dinner knives or Rambo hunting knives, issued by the captain? Really curious about your thoughts on the matter.

      Don’t worry Hophmi, it will all come out in a few weeks that Israel’s IDF is innocent of all charges.

  9. potsherd
    June 1, 2010, 11:01 am

    This nonsense is only going to backfire as the world realizes that Israelis really are batshit insane and totally disconnected from the truth.

  10. DavidSiden
    June 1, 2010, 11:25 am

    Nevada Ned, Hedy Epstein is as much a Holocaust Survivor as me.
    She spent the entire war in England.
    She is a total fraud for saying she’s a Holocaust survivor.
    Tell me what concentration camp she was in?

  11. marc b.
    June 1, 2010, 11:35 am

    One of the commandos said some of the soldiers were stripped of their helmets and equipment and a several were tossed from the top deck to a lower deck, forcing them to jump into the sea to escape.

    so israeli commandos, elite troops all if the propaganda is to be believed, jumped overboard after being accosted by civilians armed with wooden clubs and kitchen knives? pathetic. another display of cowardice and incompetence.

    • eGuard
      June 1, 2010, 11:47 am

      They had their helmet stolen. Wow, since that nasty incident at my highschool, at 15, which involved swimming too incidentally, nobody ever touched my hat again. I always close that tie under my chin, you know.

      • potsherd
        June 1, 2010, 12:01 pm

        Bertie Wooster lives again!

        Really, the only response to this is relentless mockery.

  12. DavidSiden
    June 1, 2010, 11:55 am

    Shmuel, Turkish Flotilla “activists” singing about killing Jews, martyring themselves

    link to youtube.com…layer_embedded

  13. Elliot
    June 1, 2010, 12:00 pm

    Colin – Exactly right.
    Also, we don’t have access to eyewitness accounts on either side. On the flotilla side, Israel is quarantining the activists until it can stabilize the Hasbara message.
    On the Israeli side – unlike with Gaza – we will not hear eyewitness reports until after the history books are published. This was a select group of elite soldiers. They will only talk in old age.
    Here’s one more of the many flaws in the Israeli narrative. Regarding the Israeli shooting, the official accounts I read spoke about “pistols”, but the IDF video clearly shows a soldier firing an automatic weapon.

  14. Elliot
    June 1, 2010, 12:04 pm

    the website re-arranged the thread. I was commenting on Colin’s:
    “If there had been hundreds of knives used against them, they would have been stacked up to make a more convincing victory trophy than the pathetic pictures the IDF has released thus far.”

    • annie
      June 1, 2010, 12:40 pm

      elliot, my experience has been wherever i initially start to write my post on a thread is where it lands. iow if i first open it below, even if i then decide to push reply under someone else’s comment it opens in the original position. i solve this by refreshing and starting over.

  15. DavidSiden
    June 1, 2010, 12:14 pm

    Shmuel, here’s the answer to all your questions.
    It shows how you are 100% wrong.

    link to jpost.com
    Why did IDF underestimate terrorists?

    Obviously, many of those in the “Freedom Flotilla” were not engaged in a humanitarian mission. Had that been their prime motivation, they would have accepted Israel’s offer to escort them to Ashdod Port and arrange for the delivery of their supplies to Gaza, after security checks, over land. They also would have agreed without hesitation to convey a package from the family of the Israeli soldier held hostage by Hamas for almost four years in Gaza, Gilad Schalit.

    Obviously, too, many of those who sailed toward Gaza were not “peace activists.” While those aboard five of the vessels in the flotilla did not violently oppose the IDF soldiers who came to intercept them, the video footage released by the IDF in the course of Monday confirmed earlier official descriptions by Israel of soldiers being premeditatedly and ruthlessly attacked as they tried to board the largest of the vessels, the Mavi Marmara.

    Inexplicably, only a small contingent of naval commandos was dispatched to take control of a ship carrying hundreds of activists. And the commandos came on board carrying paintball guns, apparently under the misconception that the takeover of the Mavi Marmara would be, if not a game, then certainly not a confrontation with an enemy.

    The IDF’s intelligence was clearly deeply flawed. As the footage showed, the outnumbered, under-equipped and incorrectly prepared commandos found themselves not grappling with unruly peace activists or demonstrators, to whom they had been ordered to show “restraint,” but being viciously attacked before they had barely set foot on deck. The clips showed clusters of people swarming around each of the commandos, and beating them over and over with clubs and bars in scenes sickeningly reminiscent of the lynching of IDF reservists in the Ramallah police station 10 years ago.

    There was footage of one of the “activists” stabbing a soldier, of a petrol bomb being thrown at the troops, a stun grenade. And the troops themselves reported being sprayed with tear gas, attacked with iron bars, knives and sticks, and of efforts, reportedly successful in at least one case, to grab the pistols some were also carrying. There were reports of gunfire directed at the troops, and of soldiers jumping into the sea to escape attack.

    Soldiers were fighting for their lives, said the IDF spokesman, Avi Benayahu (in Hebrew). “It was a lynch. It was an ambush.”

    The navy chief, Eliezer Marom, told an early afternoon press conference that the resulting toll of the dead and injured could have been “much worse,” that the confrontation could have ended even more unhappily.

    But it also could have ended a great deal better. At this writing, Israel is facing a battle to maintain diplomatic relations with the flotilla-sponsoring Turks, condemnation from much of the Arab world, milder expressions of concern and criticism from Western nations, a concerted diplomatic campaign against it at the UN, and exacerbated fears of internal and regional violence.

    Defense Minister Ehud Barak noted that the Mavi Marmara was under the control of the Turkish Humanitarian Relief Foundation (the IHH), which he described as “a violent, extremist organization that supports terrorism.” Both he and Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon stated with good reason that the entire “Freedom Flotilla” had been a deliberate “provocation.”

    In such circumstances, facing such hostility, it is hard to fathom why the IDF so underestimated the challenge its soldiers would face, and thus erred so strikingly over both its choice of how to thwart the flotilla, and over the number of soldiers, and the equipment, it sent into the battle at sea.

    That Israel would lose the “media war” – against what were largely depicted internationally as well-intentioned human rights activists trying to defy the Israeli blockade by bringing supplies to Gaza – was a given. Successive governments refuse to take the “second battlefield” seriously – criminally ignoring the imperative to allocate the appropriate resources so that Israel is equipped to effectively articulate its various challenges ahead of time, and in real time, in international, diplomatic and legal forums.

    Israel is being further overwhelmed day by day in the newer world of social media: Those aboard the flotilla, and their supporters worldwide, are proving to be expert exponents of Twitter and other instantaneous social media channels (as my colleague Amir Mizroch details in an op-ed elsewhere in these pages). Official Israel, by contrast, could barely manage to depart from Hebrew long enough to manage a statement and an answer in English at its major press conferences during Monday.

    Israel was also further hampered by the absence of its prime minister overseas. When Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was finally heard later Monday, speaking to the press with Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper alongside him, his powerful descriptions of the way IDF soldiers were confronted on the Mavi Marmara – “they were mobbed, clubbed, beaten and stabbed,” he said – showed how effective a carefully articulated narrative can be.

    But so much for the arenas in which Israel is routinely inept. What was so worrying about Monday’s performance was the military misjudgment and misassessment – and the potential impact on Israel’s deterrent capability of the failure to efficiently overwhelm the forces arrayed against it on what amounted to an enemy vessel.

    Israel is concerned with eminently good reason about the smuggling of weaponry into Hamas-controlled Gaza. It may have felt it had no choice but to intercept a flotilla carrying it knew not what to the Hamas terror state. Why did it not anticipate that the activists and supporters of “a violent, extremist organization that supports terrorism” would act precisely according to type?

  16. DavidSiden
    June 1, 2010, 12:20 pm

    link to loganswarning.com

    New Close Up Video of Israeli Soldiers Being Beaten

    • VR
      June 1, 2010, 1:14 pm

      That is too bad DavidSiden, they should have beaten up more of them. It, of course has nothing to do with “terrorism,” that was supplied by the Israeli commandos.

      “…what amounted to an enemy vessel.”

      The only enemy there was at sea were the Israelis, swiftly becoming the enemy of humanity in general. Than again DavidSiden, I do not expect you to understand the previous statement, nor what humane means in general (just judging by your posts). Outside of that, there is no way out of this debacle for the Israelis, in fact, the only thing that can stand is “might makes right,” this is what the attack was all about – it is what Israel has become.

      • GodsChosen
        June 1, 2010, 1:39 pm

        Believe me, if there were ANY credible videos of Israelis being beaten, I’d be the first to take an interest, purely for entertainment value.

      • Shmuel
        June 1, 2010, 1:48 pm

        Your penchant for violence and execution is creepy, GC.

  17. Koshiro
    June 1, 2010, 12:26 pm

    Actually, I’d expect every crew member, or at the very least many of them, to carry a knife. When I was a sailor, most of us carried one as a matter of course. It’s a very useful and important tool for many different uses.
    Many of the knives shown in the picture, however, seem to be kitchen knives. By the way, I think the fact that they had to include obviously non-knife items such as the screwdriver is pretty telling.

  18. Rowan
    June 1, 2010, 1:10 pm

    If you watch the nine-minute compilation of al jazeera footage of the attack, you will notice an interesting clip of three israeli troops the moment after they abseiled down onto the deck. They are in the process of taking firing positions. In other words, their first act after landing on the deck was to level their guns and assume firing positions. It is hard to be certain there is no time lapse between that video shot and the next, but I have the impression that threy started firing almost immediately.

    • Chu
      June 2, 2010, 9:13 am

      If this is fairly investigated, it will liekly be revealed that this was another intentional act of the IDF.
      This is another chapter that Goldstone could add to his report.

  19. GodsChosen
    June 1, 2010, 1:43 pm

    I believe it can be shown that they could stop the flotilla from advancing without ever boarding the ships, let alone massacring the occupants.

    The Israelis responsible need to be executed. This should take place in a neutral country after an open, transparent, televised trial. ANYTHING less is a grotesque miscarriage of justice that will only invite future israeli criminality.

  20. Duscany
    June 1, 2010, 2:34 pm

    This is like saying, “When our Panzer division rolled into Ethiopia, 75% of the natives had spears.”

    • Chu
      June 2, 2010, 9:14 am

      Ha! well said. People will believe anything if it’s from the media war machine’s bloody fangs.

  21. Duscany
    June 1, 2010, 2:46 pm

    It was never necessary to stop the flotilla at all. They could have simply let it dock so a constable could go on board to speak with the captain over a cup of tea, while the passengers would be invited to come ashore, rest in the shade of a big tent while eating hummus and cucumber salad. I simply don’t understand this need to come rappelling in at night from helicopters carrying automatic weapons. Either someone made the decision “we have to teach the Arabs a lesson” or the Israelis have male genital insecurities for which they are grossly over-compensating.

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