please find below some updates on the Estelle activists from both Israeli activists, progressive websites and also video footage released by some of the Estelle activists.
Tali Shapiro, an activist with Anarchists Against the Wall and the BDS Boycott from Within campaign, who attended the court hearings of the Israeli activists reported at the time of the hearings that the Israeli state attempted to charge the Israeli activists on board the Esteel with " violating Disengagement Law, incitement, incitement to rebellion and aiding the enemy". Tali noted that the "Prosecution demands holding the Israeli Estelle passengers for another 5 days".
However, most of the charges were dropped against the Israeli activists and they were released. The Israeli military has repeatedly stated they used no violence against the passengers of the Estelle, however, activists have reported that they were in fact brutalised by the Israeli Occupation Forces when the Israeli navy illegally boarded the Estelle. According to the activists, the IOF used taser guns against the passengers and at least one man, a Greek MP, was beaten by the Israeli military. For more information on this, see the AIC article below:
The international activists were separated from the Israeli activists. Several of the international activists have already been "expelled" from Israel. However, eleven others remain in Israeli prisons.
According to Tali's most recent update:
Estelle passengers still in Israel's prison: The Finnish ship's captain, 6 Swedish, 3 Norwegian and an ex-Canadian parliament member. They suffered severe army violence and the lawyers report marks on their bodies. Nevertheless they are all in high spirits and send their message to the world: Break the siege! Free Gaza!Footage shoot by activists has also become available on the internet which shows Israel's first radio contact with the Estelle. Please see embedded video below.
In solidarity, Kim
Estelle Mission: First radio contact with the Israeli Occupation Forces
Israeli activists detained on Estelle released
The released detainees were cheerfully greeted by peace activists who arrived at the courtroom, among them Elik Elhanan's parents - Rami Elhanan and Nurit Peled-Elhanan, who is the daughter of the late Major General Matti Peled. Smadar Elhanan, Elik's sister, was killed in a suicide bombing at the center of Jerusalem – a harsh experience which made surviving family members all the more determined to strive for peace between Israel and the Palestinians, so as to prevent further casualties on either side.
"I have gone though difficult days, but I certainly do not regret sailing on that boat. I knew what I was getting into" said Elik Elhanan. "During the voyage I made a special contact with Evangelis, a Member of the Greek Parliament who sailed with us. When the Naval Commandos came aboard and while we were blocking their way to the bridge, Evangelis told me we have generated in him a love for the people of Israel and a hope for a better future in the Middle East. Shortly afterwards they separated us. Yesterday evening, when they put Dror Feiler in our cell, he told us that Evangelis had been beaten by the Shabak interrogators. The Shabak lied shamelessly to the Consuls and representatives of foreign countries, telling them that their citizens and MPs were being treated well." Dror Feiler, who was born in Israel and whose mother Pnina lives in Kibbutz Yad Hana, gave up his Israeli citizenship after moving to Stockholm, and was therefore separated most of the time from the Israeli detainees.
"They used a completely disproportional amount of force against us" continues Elhanan. "When the Navy arrived to take us over, Yonatan Shapira counted no less than fifteen vessels surrounding us on all sides. Large and small ships and boats, a ship carrying a helicopter, as well as the Zodiacs of the Naval Commandos. Fifteen armed naval vessels against one small civilian boat carrying games for the children of Gaza. We must have disturbed very much the Navy and those who give orders to the Navy.