I asked directly: “Were IDF commandos detained by flotilla activists? If so, for how long? How were they released?”
The Israeli Consulate responded: “Not true. Its a rumor.”
About 30 hours later the world is informed that flotilla activists did in fact detain three commandos, who were disarmed and taken below deck with the other passengers.
Ignore the sensationalistic kidnapping language. The activists did manage to overwhelm and subdue the commandos. But this fact does not sit well with Israel’s hasbara that the activists were intent on killing the soldiers. If the soldiers were captives for a number of minutes, and the activists wanted them dead, they would be dead. Period.
More importantly, I believe, are the implications of this detention on the subsequent killings that Israel committed. While the details are just starting to emerge, my speculation is that a panicky Israeli commander ordered overwhelming, disproportionate force to free these detained soldiers rather than finding a way to negotiate their release. In the process, 9+ almost surely innocent people, whose faces and biographical sketches can be seen here, were murdered.
They realized that three commandos were missing and they began looking for them. A short while later the naval commando chief landed along with dozens more soldiers, some of whom climbed from boats. Others landed from a third helicopter.
The search involved limited shooting, in the bridge and on the lower deck, until the three men were recovered.
This report strongly suggests that the large majority—if not all—of the murders were committed not in the heat of battle as self-defense, but rather as part of a search-and-destroy mission to regain soldiers who were being held without further harm.
Israel must explain and provide all video documentation from the ship’s security cameras the circumstances surrounding the release of these detained pirates.