Interrogation the worst - Davids

2010-06-04 22:23

Cape Town - The South African journalist who was caught up in the deadly raid on an aid flotilla bound for the Gaza Strip, Gadija Davids, said on Friday the worst part was being interrogated by the Israelis.

"They ask you round-about questions. Nothing is specific so you do not know what exactly they want from you, and if the answer you give them is not what they want they put down their own answer," she said.

"I asked them if I could speak to someone from my embassy and they said this is Israel you do not need to speak to anyone from your embassy, and then I asked can I speak to a lawyer they said 'you get that opportunity in Europe - this is Israel'," Davids said.

"It was a shocking experience."

Davids arrived back in South Africa on Friday afternoon after being detained and released by the Israeli government for being on a ship that tried to break through the Israeli blockade on Gaza.

She was one of 40 journalists on board one of six ships that formed the Gaza Freedom Flotilla which was taking aid supplies to Gaza on Monday.

The flotilla attempted to deliver humanitarian aid.

They were confronted by Israeli commandos who rappelled onto their crafts in international waters. A clash ensued, with both the activists and the Israeli defence force claiming they were provoked.

Intense experience

Davids said that as the boat was attacked she was able to get to the press room on time and was strapped down there with the other women on board.

"It was an intense experience not knowing what was going on then we heard over the intercom several people saying 'stop attacking, we are unarmed' and then after that it was 'brothers stop resisting because too many people are getting hurt'," she said.

"When hearing that, you do not know how to react. You cannot believe this is happening."

There were no weapons on board the ship, everyone went through heavy security checks before climbing on board, said Davids.

"We were civilians, there were no weapons."

She said people on the boat were "slightly prepared" to encounter Israeli intimidation.

"We did not expect though the type of attack that we had," she said.

Once the Israeli's had seized the boat they took the women onto the deck. While on deck, she saw blood on the stairs.

The detainees were taken to a Ashkelon prison in Israel.

"They told us we were lucky because it was a new prison," said Davids.

No phone calls

"The prison was not as harsh as everything else we went through and we were only there for a day, but we were not allowed to make a phone call until the embassies arrived the next day."

Davids was one of the few detainees who was allowed to make a quick phone call home, she said.

"Only people who could speak English were allowed to make a phone call because they (the Israeli)] only had an English interpreter and they listen in on your call."

The detainees were told to sign an admission of guilt which the embassy recommended she sign otherwise she would face further interrogation and could be held in the country indefinitely, she said.

From the prison they were put in a van, infested with cockroaches, and a small slit for a window.

"We could not see where we were going," Davids said.

"Not knowing where we were was part of the terror."

Luggage stolen

The van had stopped at the airport where they were deported back to Turkey. All their luggage was stolen and the only thing she came home with were the clothes on her back.

The only thing that went through her mind through the whole experience was to take everything as it comes, and not to panic.

"Everyone there said what we went through was what the Palestinian people go through every day," Davids said.


Read more on:    israel  |  gaza ship raid  |  middle east peace

Read News24’s Comments Policy


Inside News24


Zuma: Pray for peaceful polls

President Jacob Zuma has asked members of the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God to pray for peaceful elections on 7 May.


Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
  • Friday Grabouw - 11:32 AM
    Road name: N2 Eastbound
    DELAYS between Sir Lowrys Pass and Grabouw
  • Friday Cape Town - 10:14 AM
    Road name: M3 Inbound
    EVENT - left lane closed between Rhodes Avenue and UCT
More traffic reports...

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now! - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Canon EOS 600D

The Canon EOS 600D Digital Camera puts the widely respected...

From R5389.95

I'm shopping for:


You may find yourself putting in that extra effort on looking good and making an impression. more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.