News24

SA journalist found

2010-06-01 10:38

Cape Town - South African journalist Gadijah Davids, who was caught up in a clash between the Israeli defence force and an aid ship bound for Gaza, is alive, her relieved mother Magboeba said on Tuesday.

"The mere fact that she is alive is quite consoling for us," Davids said.

The Department of International Relations told the family that she had been found, and they were currently working on finding out more about the conditions that she was being held under.

Davids said she had known the possibilities when she left.

She had been covering Palestinian issues for some time and already had an idea of what she might face. She had wanted to be part of a team delivering medical supplies, and was not interested in anything military.

"She will come back a stronger person. It was a maiden experience for her on so many levels - it was the first time she left home, first big story, and now she has an international scoop - we are very proud of her."

Being held in prison


Daniel Seaman, spokesperson for the Israeli government, told Sapa that the people on five of the six ships would be sent home by plane as soon as they had identified themselves.

They were currently being held in prisons around the country.

They would be sent home because they had not engaged in violent confrontation with the soldiers who boarded the vessels to search them.

The people on board the sixth - the Mavi Marmara - where nine people were killed when the soldiers rappelled on to the ship from helicopters - would be released only if authorities could establish that they were not part of the direct physical confrontations that also left a number of soldiers wounded.

The Israeli government said two of its soldiers' guns were taken away and they were attacked with sticks and knives.

Seaman could not say how they would establish who was directly involved and they were in the process of identifying those who were on board, as well as those killed.

Others will face charges

Those found not directly involved would be flown home, and the others would face charges, still to be formulated, in Israel.

The flotilla attempted to sail through an Israeli blockade to Gaza. The Israeli government, in response to mortar attacks two years ago, imposed the blockade of supplies to the contested territory and insisted on searching consignments bound for the area.
The blockade included maritime traffic.

Restricted items included cement, which they said could be used to mould mortar shells. Israel had rejected international calls that the restrictions were too harsh and were causing a humanitarian crisis.