By Prof. Michel Chossudovsky
URL of this article: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=24789
Global Research, May 16, 2011
The Spirit of Rachel Corrie (officially known as FINCH) carrying a humanitarian cargo to Gaza was
attacked by an Israeli naval patrol within the so-called Palestinian Security Zone on May 15, at
In the course of the last few hours, Global Research has communicated several times with the
Rachel Corrie vessel en route to Gaza. What is provided below is a detailed update.
The vessel left the Greek Port of Piraeus, on Wednesday, May 11. The humanitarian initiative is sponsored
by the Perdana Global Peace Foundation (PGPF), chaired by the former Prime Minister of Malaysia Mahathir
Participating in this mission are anti-war activists and journalists, consisting of 7 Malaysians, 2 Irish, 2 Indians
and 1 Canadian. The Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG) is a partner in this endeavor.
Global Research`s Julie Lévesque is on board the Rachel Corrie:
The Spirit of Rachel Corrie entered Gazan waters without being detected.
The Israeli navy with its radar equipment and advanced communications technology was unaware of the Spirit
of Rachel Corrie Mission.
They were unprepared. They had received no prior information of the Rachel Corrie Mission, which had been
planned for several months, scheduled to arrive off the coast of Gaza on the day of the "Nakba"
Ironically, Mossad, Israel's intelligence agency was unaware of this mission. The Israeli navy vessels acted in an
improvised fashion, without prior knowledge or intelligence. There was no indication that they had received
precise instructions from the Israeli government.
At the time of the attack, the passengers on board were under the impression that the ship was still in
international waters, when in fact is was one mile inside the "Palestinian Security zone", namely in Gaza
territorial waters, within a short distance of the Gaza coastline. This was an important accomplishment.
Indicated below is the initial report sent to Global Research by text message:
Two Israeli naval vessels initially launched a "warning attack" on the Rachel Corrie, indicating that if the ship
did not change course, they would shoot at the crew and the passengers. One of the passengers was almost
killed as a result of the attacks. (See Bernama, May 16, 2011)
The following exchange took place between the Israeli navy and the ship as reported by the Free Malaysia
Today journalist on board the Spirit of Rachel Corrie:
The Egyptian navy guard was initially unaware of what was occurring. The Israeli navy contacted the Egyptian
navy and initially got no response.
Our earlier report (filed at 12.30am) following communication with the ship shortly after midnight (March 16)
pointed to cooperation between the Israeli navy and their Egyptian counterparts. While there was cooperation,
the Egyptians played a supportive role, which served to appeasing the Israeli attacks as well as escorting the
Spirit of Rachel Corrie into Egyptian territorial waters.
The Israeli Navy had contacted the Spirit of Rachel Corrie. They were informed regarding the nature of the
cargo and that the crew and passengers were unarmed civilians.
The warning attack was aggressive using automatic weapons. Two Israeli naval patrol boats armed with
machine guns were deployed. The Israelis also opened fire on a Palestinian fishing boat which was within Gazan
Following the initial "warning attack" they ordered the Spirit of Rachel Corrie to turn back. "Turn around or
we'll shoot". However, once the ship changed course as demanded by the Israeli commando, they continued
firing on the ship: "They started shooting to kill"
The Egyptian navy ship while communicating with the Israeli Navy was instrumental in escorting the ship to
safe haven. The crew of the Egyptian ship was supportive in ensuring the safety of the crew and passengers of
the humanitarian vessel.
There was communication between the Israeli and Egyptian ships and the Israeli's "thanked" the Egyptian ship
for having intervened.
The Spirit of Rachel Corrie, its crew and passengers are now in Egyptian territorial water, anchored off the
Egyptian port of Al Arish, within a short distance of Gaza territorial waters.
It is essential at this stage to mobilize Worldwide in support for the Spirit of Rachel Corrie, break the blockade, open up Gazan territorial waters to aid and trade and also use this opportunity to open the land border between Egypt and Gaza.
The humanitarian convoy is of significance in the process of rehabilitation of Gaza's public health infrastructure including its sewage system which was partially destroyed by Israeli bombings under Operation Cast Lead:
~Reposted by Sofia Smith