Journalist reports that “she hasn’t been harmed”

June 30, 2015 by Keren Cook
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Israeli naval commandos have boarded and taken control of the activist boat ‘Freedom Flotilla III’ – tying to break the Gaza blockade. New Zealand journalists were on board.

The vessel has been at sea for 10 days.

Gaza bound

Gaza bound

Maori TV’s Native Affairs senior journalist Ruwani Perera is on board the lead boat, the Marianne, along with Kiwi cameraman Jacob Bryant. Both were invited by KiaOraGaza to observe and document the Gaza mission.

In a text message to New Zealand’s  ONE News on Monday June 29, Ms Perera’s partner Tim Werry says she “hasn’t been harmed”.

Prime Minister John Key confirmed yesterday that he was aware Ms Perera and Mr Bryant were both onboard, but was unable to provide any further information.

Native Affairs presenter Mihingarangi Forbes also confirmed on her personal Twitter account that Perera and Bryant have been detained.

En route to Ashdod

En route to Ashdod

The fishing trawler Marianne of Gothenburg is a rebuilt trawler currently loaded with medical equipment, solar panels and other aid items. The flotilla was carrying these supplies into Gaza when Israeli forces intercepted it. It ‘s believed the Israeli Defense Force [IDF] seized the vessel and their passengers about 100 nautical miles from Gaza’s shore.

The Israeli Embassy in Wellington has offered no comment but reports from international media report that up to 20 people have been detained.

Times of Israel, Jewish Press say there’s no closure on Gaza and people are welcome to transport, via Israel, any humanitarian supplies. The sea blockade is in accordance with international law, and has received backing from the UN Secretary General.

In a statement to Al- Jazeera the Israeli army said they did not use force in redirecting the main boat Marianne to the Israeli city of Ashdod.

On the official blog of the IDF a post dated June 29, 2015 says: “In accordance with international law, the Israeli Navy advised the vessel several times to change course.

tweet“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 forces have reported that use of force was unnecessary, and that the process was uneventful. The vessel is currently being escorted to Ashdod Port and is expected to arrive within 12-24 hours.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu congratulated the Israeli forces involved: “This flotilla is nothing but a demonstration of hypocrisy and lies that is only assisting the Hamas terrorist organization and ignores all of the horrors in our region.

“Preventing entry by sea was done in accordance with international law and even received backing from a committee of the UN Secretary General,” he said.

Native Affairs producer Adrian Stevanon has been in regular contact with Ruwani since the flotilla left New Zealand almost 2 weeks ago but has not directly heard from her in the past 24 hours.

New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade confirms it’s aware of reports the IDF has intercepted the Freedom Flotilla and says they are currently monitoring the situation.

A ministry spokesperson shares they advised the two reporters to heed the travel advisory, which advises against all travel to Gaza, and not attempt to break the blockade.


3 Responses to “Journalist reports that “she hasn’t been harmed””
  1. Steve Lincoln says:

    I hope, if they so make a big deal over this non-event that the NZ government will stand up to them and call them out for not heeding warnings and acting illegally.

  2. Michael Kuttner says:

    Ms. Perera is likely to change her tune as soon as she gets back to NZ and reports on her misnamed humanitarian adventures. After all there is no point in traveling all that way if one cannot make a drama out of it and blame Israel. So watch out for accusations against everyone but the Hamas terrorists ruling Gaza and their willing dupes elsewhere.

  3. Gillian Miller says:

    The world treats Israel as a pariah and blames them for Hamas’ breaches of international law, war crimes and the suffering of their own people. The appalling thing is that so many Jews fall for the same propaganda instead of being proud of the fact that Israel is the world’s most moral country especially when it comes to war. Israel has set standards that no other country wants to emulate.

    Yes, some Israelis do things that I don’t agree with but, in general, it is a country that all other countries should want to be.

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