The Israeli government reported Thursday that documents found in one of the laptops confiscated by the Israeli Defense Forces suggest that the flotilla organizers received assistance from the Turkish government — a claim that the Turkish government vehemently denies.Israeli authorities said that extracted documents, which were allegedly pulled from laptops seized by the Israeli military from passengers aboard the Gaza-bound aid flotilla, displayed the detailed planning and preparation for the aid mission last May. The information mentioned some response scenarios to different possible situations, including several regarding Israeli aggression, and dealing with possible imprisonment.
Some international groups have questioned the veracity of the documents, due in part to the fact that the stolen equipment was kept in unsecured areas of Israeli military bases for months – some of the confiscated equipment even turned up on Ebay when soldiers tried to sell it for profit. No soldiers were ever prosecuted, and the Israeli military could not assure the international community of the security around the stolen equipment.
According to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, the most significant document was attributed to a Polish journalist, Ewa Jasiewicz, a member of the Free Gaza Movement. The paper quotes government officials as saying that they uncovered a recording of a meeting held in Istanbul on 16 May which included the heads of the six organizations involved and the captains of the vessels.
They claim that the aid workers reference countries such as Sweden, Cyprus and Turkey as supporters of the initiative during the recorded meeting. Also in the recording is an alleged reference made by organizers to direct support from Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and other senior government officials. “During discussions, [they] openly said that if we have any difficulties, ‘gov’ will extend what support they can.”
Audio recordings are notoriously inaccurate and difficult to transcribe, and the word that the Israeli government claims is ‘gov’ in reference to ‘government’, it could actually be a similar sounding name or word.
Activists say that this is a very flimsy claim based on little to no evidence — considering the volume of equipment stolen from the hundreds of activists aboard the flotilla.
The Turkish Embassy in Tel Aviv denied giving any direct support to the flotilla, claiming that the aid flotilla was a civilian initiative. “If it was a government initiative we would have handled it, and this was not the case.’
Another released document that the Israeli government claims came from a computer on the ship is an internal document of Free Gaza, entitled “Strategy.” The document was authored on March 7, 2010, and details the preparations for the flotilla, scenarios for confrontations with IDF soldiers, preparations and instructions on dealing with imprisonment, and political and public relations goals in the media. The ‘Strategy’ document advocates an adherence to non-violence for all aid workers involved in the flotilla.
The Israeli military confiscated all the documents found on the ships when they attacked the ships, killing nine aid workers, on May 31st. The government claims it sent all of the equipment to the Terrorism Information Center, for intelligence analysis, but reports by activists that soldiers sold confiscated equipment on Ebay have challenge the Israeli claim. The results were released in the beginning of October.