Captured, disarmed hijackers did not face "lynching" as Israel claimed
The website of Turkish newspaper Hürriyet published a gallery of photos showing Israeli soldiers captured after their attack on the Mavi Marmara in international waters in the early hours of 31 May.
The predictable response of the Israeli army, as quoted in Haaretz, was that the "published pictures serve as clear and unequivocal proof of Israel's repeated arguments that aboard [the Mavi Marmara] were mercenaries who intended to kill Israeli soldiers." Israeli spokespersons and media in recent days have also claimed the soldiers faced "lynching," a provocative term which originated to describe the deliberate mob murders of African Americans by white supremacists in the United States.
The photos indicate nothing of the sort; if anything they show the opposite. First, it is clear that the passengers would have had ample time and opportunity to seriously harm or kill the Israeli soldiers if that had been their intention. While at least 9 flotilla passengers were killed by the Israelis, no Israeli was killed even though it appears at least two and up to four were disarmed and captured as they carried out an illegal, unprovoked armed attack on a civilian ship in international waters.
In some of the Hürriyet photos passengers or medics appear to be protecting and aiding the Israeli soldiers. Below we see a passenger taking a clearly wounded Israeli attacker and protecting him -- not from any violent attack -- but merely from being photographed.
An additional photo, not included in the Hürriyet gallery, but posted on the Facebook fan page of The Economist shows the same soldier, and the person who was holding him, while a third person administers medical care. (Thanks to http://twitter.com/AmoonaM for tracking down this picture)
Another photo from the Hürriyet gallery, below, again shows a soldier who appears to be getting assistance to stop bleeding on his face with a bandage or white cloth. Of course it is possible to give a lurid, sensational and imaginative, explanation to this photo -- as the Israeli army is trying to do -- and claim that someone is trying to suffocate the soldier! But given the fact that he wasn't suffocated and all the Israeli soldiers came home alive, the most likely explanation, that fits with all the other evidence, is that he was being cared for.
Finally, the fact that passengers were giving aid to captured Israeli hijackers even as the ship was still under full scale assault by the Israeli military is bolstered by video which has recently emerged of the first moments of the attack. In the video, passengers are appealing for help and one says clearly that several soldiers were injured in their descent from the choppers, that they had been taken by the passengers and were receiving medical care. This is in the thick of the action, so it seems entirely credible that the passenger is reporting what he had just witnessed.
At about 3:34 in this video, a man speaking Turkish appears, and according to the french subtitles on the video, says that Israeli helicopters dropped about 10 soldiers onto the ship, that passengers had subdued two, and two others had been injured during their drop. He then says, "our friends are trying to come to their aid right now," and adds, "What we say to the Israelis is that no one should be injured, neither them nor us. Their soldiers who fell onto the bridge are in good hands. Our friends are looking after them, no one is doing them any harm. This operation must be stopped!"
Update 1: More photos of Israeli soldiers being cared for not, hurt
The following photos, which appear on the Turkish news website internethaber.comalso clearly show Israeli soldiers being cared for, not hurt by Mavi Marmara passengers. (The same gallery shows injured passengers as well. This also appears to the source of the photo above found on The Economist's facebook fan page. h/thttp://twitter.com/intifadhat )