Israeli grilling was the worst part – Cape journo

2010-06-05 10:10

The interrogation by the Israelis was the worst part of the

experience, says Cape Town radio journalist Gadija Davids.

“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 if I could 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 yesterday 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 on 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.

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


“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.

Once the Israeli’s had seized the boat they took the women onto the

deck. While on the 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


“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.

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.”

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.

“Everyone there said what we went through was what the Palestinian

people go through every day,” Davids said.


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