June 17, 2011
1. The organizers of Freedom Flotilla 2 have repeatedly emphasized its purportedly humanitarian character and their commitment to respond to expected “Israeli violence” with civil resistance and nonviolence.1 Their aim is to create a positive image for the flotilla and counter Israeli statements about the violent nature and radical Islamic affiliation of several Mavi Marmara participants. It is also an attempt to soften the West’s memory of the violent confrontation prepared by the operatives aboard the Mavi Marmara.2 In reality, they are making preparations for a response to a scenario of an Israeli takeover of the ships and the passengers’ detention.
2. Huwaida Arraf, a prominent activist in the Free Gaza Movement (FGM)3 umbrella network, plays a central role in organizing the flotilla. She recently said that there would be no weapons which could be used against anyone aboard any one of the flotilla ships, but that they were training people in the use of “different tactics”, “to keep the soldiers off our boat nonviolently” (Israel Channel 10 TV, June 15, 2011). In addition, Eurasianet, a New York-based information and analysis institution, recently reported that the flotilla activists’ training included passive resistance exercises, and even elaborated on some them (See below).
3. The anti-Israeli networks in Western countries participating in the flotilla, such as the FGM and the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), have adopted and implemented the tactics of passive resistance within what they call “direct action.”
4. Some of the tactics which may be used by the activists aboard the ships include:
Report of Nonviolent Resistance Training
5. According to a report posted June 13 on the Eurasianet.org website, the flotilla activists received training in passive resistance exercises with which to oppose the IDF. They included “linking arms and sitting around the captain’s wheelhouse to obstruct its taking, sitting on top of deck covers to block access to the cabins below, and resisting removal through ‘going limp.'”
6. According to the report, one flotilla organizer “conceded that ‘however much training you give some people, when it comes down to [a fight], they will not be able to control themselves” [ITIC emphasis].
Passive Resistance Tactics Used in the Recent Flotilla (May 2010)
7. Networks such as the FGM and the ISM, whose activists participate in the flotillas, rely on the use of passive resistance (as part of what they call “direct action”). Their activists have gained a great deal of experience by taking part in various anti-Israeli activities (obstructing IDF activities in the Palestinian Authority-administered territories and participating in previous flotillas and convoys). Some of them are expected to participate in the upcoming flotilla aboard American and other ships.
8. Before the previous flotilla, the FGM (and other organizations) prepared their activists to use passive resistance tactics against IDF soldiers, and they were employed aboard the ships: