SEPANG – Malaysia’s sole representative in the ‘Women’s Boat to Gaza’ (WBG) mission, Dr Fauziah Mohd Hassan arrived home safely tonight.
She is among 11 individuals freed and deported to their countries of origin, after their humanitarian ship, Zaytouna-Oliva, was detained by the Israeli authorities on Wednesday.
The humanitarian ship was heading to Gaza when Israeli forces seized and herded it to Ashdod Port in Israel.
Dr Fauziah, 59, said from onboard the ship, she and fellow activists saw the blockade on Gaza and how different the night view between Gaza and Israel.
“We cried when we saw how bad the condition in Gaza as compared to the lively and brightly lit Israeli area. It was a proof of Israeli oppression of Palestine,” she told reporters upon arrival at the KL International Airport here tonight.
She said during the detention, some of the activists were stripped off their clothes for inspections.
“Luckily, I was spared, probably because of my status as a doctor,” she said.
Relating the moment before they were arrested by the Israeli forces, Dr Fauziah said she and the other activists had thrown away all sharp objects and electronic gadgets, including their mobile phones, tablets and laptop computers, as soon as they realised that there were three military ships approaching.
“We told the soldiers repeatedly that we came in peace and were heading to Gaza, but they were firm on telling us to turn back,” she said, adding that at that moment, their ship was only 35 nautical miles away from Gaza.
She said the three military ships then intercepted the humanitarian ship and almost immediately armed Israeli soldiers climbed onboard and asked them to surrender.
Zaytouna-Oliva set sail to Gaza from Barcelona on Sept 15, carrying 13 female activists from 12 countries, in a mission to challenge the Israeli blockade on Gaza after the land routes to the strip were blocked by Israel and Egypt. – BERNAMA