Gaza Flotilla Incident
(May 31, 2010)
On the morning of May 31, 2010, IDF naval forces intercepted six ships from the IHH organization attempting to break the naval blockade of the Gaza Strip.
After the ships ignored numerous warnings to redirect toward Ashdod, where their material could be checked and then transferred to Gaza, teams of elite naval commandos boarded the vessels. On the lead boat, the Mavi Marmara, demonstrators onboard attacked the IDF personnel with live fire, light weaponry, knives and clubs. Two weapons were also taken from the soldiers and used against them.
As a result of the violence, seven soldiers were wounded and nine Turkish citizens were killed.
Lawyers at the International Criminal Court decided not to open up an investigation into the case on November 6, 2014. The lawyers admitted that they believe that war crimes had been committed by IDF soldiers during the incident, but the crimes were not of significant gravity to merit an investigation by the ICC. Seven months later, in July 2015, members of the ICC voted 2-1 and ordered the ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda to once again consider opening a full investigation into the incident. Members of the ICC harshly informed Bensouda that she should seriously consider the possibility that the deaths of those killed by the IDF were “systematic” and “deliberate.”
Three U.S. citizens and a Belgian national filed a suit in U.S. Federal Court on January 11, 2016, seeking compensation for damages sustained during the flotilla incident. The plaintiffs in the case suffered injuries from stun grenades and rubber bullets used by IDF forces during the raid.
An all-female “flotilla” boat attempting to break the Israeli “blockade of Gaza” was boarded by a crew of female IDF combat troops and directed to shore on October 5, 2016. The Israelis ordered the boat to change directions, and boarded the encroaching vessel when it ignored their warnings. Although the event was described by witnesses as “uneventful,” the dozen activists onboard released S.O.S. videos on social media in which they asked supporters to speak out against the “hostile takeover” of their ship. The boat, which sailed from Barcelona in September 2016, was flying under a Dutch flag.