Activists on board Gaza-bound Irish ship say they will not resist if IDF troops board vessel
By Aviel Magnezi, Ynetnews, June 3, 2010
A pro-Palestinian activist on board the Irish vessel 'Rachel Corrie' told Ynet Wednesday that the ship is currently located between Libya and Cyprus, and that it is making its way to Gaza but will not arrive before Saturday morning.
The activist said those on board were coming "in peace", and that they would not resist IDF soldiers if they insisted coming on board. The claim was reminiscent of one made by the activists on board the flotilla that arrived Monday.
He added that before the ship had embarked it had been searched for weapons, and stressed that there were none on board.
The Irish vessel, named after a peace activist killed by an Israeli bulldozer, is reportedly carrying more than 20 people: More than ten Malaysians, five Irish, and eight crew members.
"We are not afraid, despite what happened on the Marmara," said Derrick Graham, who is on board with wife Jeanie. "The violence there was a product of fear, I saw the fear in the eyes of the soldiers. You need to send your veteran soldiers, not the young ones."
He stressed that the violent turn of events on board the Turkish ship Monday would not affect the Rachel Corrie. "We don't plan on resisting. In the event that your men are stupid enough to come and arrest us, we will sit down and not resist," he said. "It would not be wise for the government of Israel to direct its brutal violence towards us."
Graham added that the passengers on board the ship were saddened by the violence on board the Marmara. He said he had participated in a number of voyages to Gaza in the past, and that this was not the general rule.
"There were never such problems on sails to Gaza. We object to violence, which is why before we left we searched the ship to make sure there were no guns or weapons of any kind on board. The crew members were also checked by officials," he said.
The activist added that the IDF had called to ask him similar questions. When asked whether he knew that the passengers on board the Marmara had firearms, he expressed shock. "These are supposed to be violence-free, weapons-free ships," he said.
On board is also Mairead Maguire, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate well-known to Israeli authorities. She was injured at an anti-fence protest in Bil'in in 2008, and has taken part in previous Gaza sails. "I'm not afraid, I think it is important to give Gaza freedom and support it," she said.
The 66-year old, who has previously called for Israel's removal from the UN, said her family supported her. "We believe in a peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and believe it can be solved through negotiations," she said.
Maguire also stressed that there would be no violence on board the Rachel Corrie. "I have experience with this. If (the soldiers) come on board, I hope and believe it will be in a peaceful manner," she said.