Yes, that is the former Congresswoman Cynthia Mckinney.
Yes, that is the very same Cynthia McKinney who took Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to task.
Yes, the Cynthia McKinney who tried to open a thorough investigation into the hurricane Katrina deaths.
If you want to know what it is going to be like for those who were taken to Israeli jails, just read her letter.
Israel on Tuesday expelled three pro-Palestinian activists who were among 18 arrested when the IDF peacefully intercepted a Gaza-bound boat seeking to defy the Jewish state’s naval blockade Monday morning.
The former Tunisian president Moncef Marzouki, Spanish-European parliament member Ana Miranda and an Israeli-born activist who lives abroad were expelled from the country after the Swedish-registered Marianne of Gothenburg was towed in to Ashdod port late Monday.
The Israeli-Arab Knesset member Basel Ghattas was released from detention Tuesday and is expected to face a Knesset committee in the coming days that will mull stripping him of some of his parliamentary privileges.
The rest of the activists on board were being held in administrative detention in a Ramla prison, awaiting deportation.
The interception occurred without incident and there were no injuries, the IDF said.
“The (former) president of Tunisia and the Spanish lawmaker flew this morning. There are another 14 who have begun the expulsion process,” a spokeswoman for Israel’s immigration authority told AFP on Tuesday.
Ghattas denounced the possible Knesset sanctions as a “revenge” plot, and told Israel Radio Tuesday that the Israeli Navy had “kidnapped” the so-called Freedom Flotilla III, purportedly on its way to deliver humanitarian aid to the Hamas-run coastal enclave.
A hearing due Tuesday on proposed measures against Ghattas was postponed to a later date to allow the Joint (Arab) List lawmaker to attend.
The Marianne was part of a four-boat flotilla of pro-Palestinian activists who had been seeking to reach the Gaza Strip. The three other boats had turned back before the interception for an unknown reason.
The IDF said in a statement that the vessel had been warned “several times” to change course, but had refused.
“Following their refusal, forces visited and searched the vessel in international waters in order to prevent the intended breach of the maritime blockade of the Gaza Strip,” the army said in a statement.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu censured the activists aboard the Marianne as “hypocritical,” and accused them of assisting the Islamist Hamas rulers of the Strip while ignoring atrocities across the region.
“Welcome to Israel!” a letter released by the Prime Minister’s Office read. “It appears you’ve made a mistake along the way. Perhaps you meant to sail somewhere not far from here — Syria. There, Assad’s regime is massacring his own people every day with the help of the murderous Iranian regime.”
The communique concludes by lamenting that the activists chose not to visit Israel, as they would have been “impressed” by the democracy upheld by the Jewish state that affords equality and religious freedoms for all its citizens.
AFP and Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.
The social media wing of the Freedom Flotilla Coalition on Monday released a series of pre-recorded videos showing passengers aboard the ship, Marianne av Göteborg, condemning Israel in advance for the eventual interception of the vessel as it was attempting to break the blockade of the Gaza Strip.
The videos show each passengers making addresses in which they say that if the footage is being seen, then the ship has been boarded by IDF forces.
One passenger, Dror Feiler, a veteran of previous flotillas and the only Israeli aboard theMarianne told viewers that the release of the video means “that Israelis have broken international law again.”
Feiler explained that Israeli forces, who were yet to have interacted with the passengers, are “acting like pirates” for not allowing them to reach Gaza.
The Israel-born activist, who now resides in Sweden and has been banned from entering Israel until 2022 due to his participation in past flotillas, further calls on viewers to involve themselves in his cause.
“We are waiting [for] you to act. We are waiting [for] our governments to act. We are waiting [for] the international bodies to act.”
In another video from aboard the Marianne, Swedish activist Charlie Andreasson, echoed Feiler’s call to action.
“Do whatever you can to raise this issue, to release us, to open the borders of Gaza, to open the borders of Palestine, because this is a criminal action that has just been committed.”
Feiler, in an interview to The Jerusalem Post, had painted the cause of the flotilla as one for Israelis and Palestinians.
“The siege hurts Israel. The siege hurts the Palestinians,” he said, adding that “we are doing this also for the people that live in Israel. They deserve a better future than the future that this government and this policy is promising them because…this government is leading the Israeli people into the abyss.”
On Monday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu released a statement commending the Navy for their handling of the maritime mission that stopped the ship.
“This flotilla is nothing but a display of hypocrisy which only helps Hamas while ignoring other atrocities in the region,” Netanyahu said.
Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon expressed similar sentiments, calling the flotilla “part of a spectacle of lies and hypocrisy…only strengthening and offering support to terrorist organizations such as Hamas, which ignores the welfare of the people of the Gaza Strip so it can smuggle in weapons to use against the citizens of Israel.”
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