Open Letter to Prime Minister Netanyahu by Glyn Secker, Captain of the Irene

October 9, 2010
Richard Kuper

Open Letter to Prime Minister Netanyahu:

Dear Prime minister,
We urge you not to rely on the IDF account of the boarding of The Jewish Boat To Gaza. The IDF state that there was no resistance and no violence. The true account, however,is as follows:

When boarded we cut the engines. I held the wheel with all my strength. With one commando standing by with an electric Taser shock gun, two others removed me – I am 66 –  and threw me hard to the floor. I grabbed the ignition keys but they wrenched them from me. They violently shoved aside those sitting over the switches and started the engines. On the port side, commandos singled out Yonatan and Itamar Shapira, our two refuseniks. Itamar was violently dragged backwards across the safety wires to their boat and restrained dangerously by a commando who pushed his fingers deep into Itamar’s jugular artery. Yonatan was hugging Rami Elhanan, our Bereaved Families passenger. The commander fired his Taser twice into Yonatan’s shoulder, then with deliberation moved Yonatan’s lifejacket aside, placed his Tazer directly over Yonatan’s heart and fired. Yonatan’s whole body went into spasm, he let out a fearful scream, crashed across the cockpit and was dragged backwards over the safety wires to the commandos’ boat.

As passive resistance I turned off the fuel supply to the engines, so they towed us at very high speed through increasingly rough waters. The boat lurched and crashed about for hours to Ashdod . It was dangerous for the elderly passengers, most sustained serious bruising.

It is illegal in the United States to Taser directly at the heart as this has caused deaths. The commandos could not have known whether Yonatan’s heart would have sustained this assault or not. There was therefore considerable non-violent resistance by the crew and passengers to the illegal action by the IDF, and violent, reckless and very dangerous action by the IDF commandos. It was only luck that there were not more deaths (and another public relations disaster for Israel). We urge you to take much firmer control of your armed forces.

Glyn Secker
Captain, Irene, The Jewish Boat To Gaza
Executive Committee member, Jews For Justice For Palestinians

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