The IDF brought two boats alongside us, one on port side one on starboard side. All the crew and passengers (apart from myself as I was steering) linked arms.They boarded us simultaneously from both sides. At that moment we cut the engines and sat over the access points to the cut offs to prevent them restarting the engines. The wheel is on the starboard side of the boat. I was surrounded by three commandos, I held on to the wheel as hard as I could. One grabbed my left arm, another my right arm. The third stood by with a Tazer gun. After a struggle they managed to prize my hands from the wheel and threw me down on the floor. I managed to crawl behind them and remove the engine starter keys but one of them saw me and prized them from my hands. On the opposite side of the cockpit Yonatan Shapira and his brother Itamar had been identified by the IDF commander in charge. He sought to separate them from the others. Yonatan clasped Rami in a hug to prevent himself being removed. The senior officer then moved one sideYonatan’s lifejacket covering his left breast, placed a Tazer gun in contact with his clothing and fired it directly into his heart. Yonatan let out a dreadful scream and the force of the Tazer caused him to lose control of his muscles. He was pulled off Rami and across the cockpit to the middle. He was then hit twice more by the Tazer gun, screaming out again. Both he and Itamar were forcefully pulled off our boat onto the IDF rib. They were driven at very high speed over the waters, which had now become moderately rough (the wind had increased to a F4) and it would have been very uncomfortable especially for Yonatan still recovering from the Tazer shocks. They were taken to the frigate where they were treated normally, then to shore and released without charges.
Meanwhile I had turned off the fuel supply to the engines. After some time (the engines burn 1 1/2 litres per hour) when the fuel in the pipes had been used up the port engine started to fail. (The starborad fuel shut-off failed to work). After many attempts to restart the engine the IDF took the boat in tow. The boat is designed to go through the water at a maximum speed of about 8 knts. They towed us through the rough waters at 12 – 14 knts. The boat was bouncing about violently, it was dangerous for the remaining passengers and crew, including our 82 year old holocaust survivor. We all sustained bruises and the passage to Ashdod was exhausting. There was something like eight commandos on the boat in addition to ourselves so it was grossly overloaded. It was surprising that the boat did not begin to break up, the whole structure was groaning and making cracking sounds. It was clear that they intended to seriously mistreat the boat. During the passage they tore down all the banners and flags – including the red ensign (the UK flag) which legally has to be displayed in all foreign waters.
We wish to point out that in the USA it is illegal for the police or the army to fire Tazers directly into the heart as there have been a number of cases of heart failure and death as a result of such targeting.
The fact that Yonatan was released without charge makes it very clear that the use of the Tazer on him was purely malicious.
There was therefore, considerable resistance, be it non-violent, to the IDF’s illegal hyjacking of our boat, and there was considerable, unprovoked and very dangerous violence by the IDF.
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