Monday 6th July, Heathrow, London Adie Mormech, one of the six British Free Gaza boat passengers and crew deported today from an Israeli jail, says he's raring to return.
The Free Gaza boat Spirit of Humanity was forcibly boarded by the Israeli navy last Tuesday while trying to sail to Gaza through international and Gazan waters. The boat remains at the Israeli port of Ashdod. “Another boat which tried to reach Gaza a few months ago is still there, so we don't have much hope of getting ours back” says Mormech, “but the lawyers are working hard on it and we will be fundraising for new ones.”
Of the experience of being boarded by Israeli soldiers, Mormech remained upbeat about his memories. “The soldiers were trying to look intimidating,” he said, “but the boat was rocking so much that they kept sliding all over the place and falling over each other... the Special Forces weren't looking so special!”
Of his time in the Israeli immigration jail at Ramle, though, he emphasised the appalling conditions for people – mainly from Africa and South East Asia – being held there for years at a time. “It was like dipping your toe in an enormous pool of lost people,” said Mormech. He described the jail, where Free Gaza prisoners were helped by fellow inmates with mobile phones and in return gave English lessons and took testimonies, as a 'hellhole.' Many of the inmates, he said, have no money for lawyers, and described one individual from Cote d'Ivoire who had been incarcerated for two years with no hope of legal representation or release.
And, said Mormech, the inconsistencies and irregularities of the Israeli system which seemed like a “game of cat and mouse” for him as an internationa,l are “of course, a brutal reality governing the lives of thousands of Palestinians.”
“It's not about me, it's about Gaza entirely,” he stressed.
Sarah Irving is a freelance writer specialising in social and environmental issues and the Middle East