No bloodshed, but Israel vows to deport activists

Benjamin Netanyahu has tried to turn a corner with the treatement of the Rachel Corrie, which is named after an activist who was killed by an Israeli bulldozer
Benjamin Netanyahu has tried to turn a corner with the treatement of the Rachel Corrie, which is named after an activist who was killed by an Israeli bulldozer

By politics.co.uk staff

Israel is preparing to deport the 11 campaigners and eight crew members of the Rachel Corrie aid ship after it unsuccessfully tried to break the blockade of the Gaza Strip.

The arrival of the ship saw activists detained but no repeat of the bloodshed which triggered a wave of international condemnation last Monday.

In a clear bid to improve the public relations disaster that has impacted on Israel over the course of last week, prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the Rachel Corrie was populated by "peace campaigners" rather than the "violent Turkish terror extremists" on the Mavi Marmara, in which nine people were killed by Israeli troops.


Israeli officials have promised to transfer all 'acceptable' aid from the Rachel Corrie to the Gaza Strip.

The rhetoric from UK politicians has become markedly tougher since the incident. Speaking on the Andrew Marr programme this morning, Labour leadership hopeful David Miliband attacked the "deadly and self-defeating" series of actions by the Israeli government.

He went on: "The marginalisation of Gaza has been a stain on policy right across the Middle East for a very long time."

Post mortems on the bodies from the Mavi Marmara have cast doubt on the Israeli account of minimum necessary force, with a total of 30 bullets found in the bodies of the nine activists, with most of the deceased being shot in the face or the back at close range.

UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon has now contacted Mr Netanyahu to set up a commission into the incident, headed by former New Zealand prime minister Geoffrey Palmer and including representatives from the US, Israel and Turkey.

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