Victoria resident Kevin Neish onboard Gaza-bound ships intercepted by Israeli Navy; fatalities reported

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      At least one B.C. resident is part of an aid mission intercepted today (May 30) by the Israeli navy.

      France24 is reporting that 10 people have been killed in the incident. Al Jazeera has put that number higher, reporting that as many as 16 could be dead.

      Kevin Neish is a 53-year-old retiree who lives in Victoria.

      The Straight previously reported that Neish left Vancouver for the Mediterranean Sea on May 21. He was taking part in an aid mission that calls itself the Free Gaza Movement and which was on its way to the Gaza Strip.

      The flotilla that Neish was a part of consisted of six ships carrying more than 600 people.

      In an e-mail to the Straight received at 8:49 p.m., Zoe Blunt, a friend of Neish’s, wrote:

      Reports on Twitter started about twenty minutes ago - Israeli commandos descending from helicopters on the Turkish ship. We are hearing that stun guns and tear gas are being used. Live stream shows people in life jackets lying down and going limp as black-clad commandos arrest them. One report (not confirmed) says three people are dead and 50 injured on the Turkish ship Mavi Marmari. Live stream here: (Turkish language)

      A second e-mail received at 10:30 p.m. read in part:

      Reports: attack is continuing, casualties mounting - possibly 25 or more. Search "flotilla" on Google news and Twitter for updates every second.

      These are all unarmed civilians who have been trained in non-violence.

      Kevin Neish was assigned to protect a group of journalists on the Challenger II -- his mission was to passively block the hallway and slow down the commandos long enough that the reporters could upload photos and stories.

      Blunt also expressed concern that Neish has been hurt.

      The Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz is reporting that as many as 60 activists on board the ships have been injured.

      According to France24, an Israeli television station is reporting that Israeli commandos opened fire on activists after coming under attack from people armed with knives and axes.

      A demonstration against the storming of the ships is being organized for Monday (May 31) at noon, outside the CBC building at the corner of Georgia and Hamilton streets.

      A report on the incident by Al Jazeera English.

      You can follow Travis Lupick on Twitter at




      May 31, 2010 at 12:02am

      I think everyone should PHONE Dept. of Foreign Affairs AND Stephen Harper's Office Immediately & demand that the government 1) Insist on confirmed information of Kevin's safety at the present moment and 2) that they issue an official condemnation to Israel for the False Arrest of a Canadian Citizen, against Canadian & International Law!

      David Simantob

      May 31, 2010 at 12:52am

      What was this guy doing on a ship that was trying to help Hamas? What would we have done to a person who tried to run the Allied blockade and help the Axis in WWII. If you are stupid enough to go help Hamas, then suffer the consequences.

      Jon in Palestine

      May 31, 2010 at 1:05am

      We only know about one ship, there is no information at all on Kevin's ship, nor the others. The only video feed was from the Turkish ferry, the Mavi Marmara. There has been no communications from the other ship since about two hours before the commando raid and massacre.


      May 31, 2010 at 1:39am

      In recent years, Kevin has also acted as a human shield for Central American villagers terrorized by death squads. This situation is no different. He is willing to risk his own safety to help other people.

      Colin in Halifax

      May 31, 2010 at 1:52am

      No weapons on board with the activists? I strongly doubt that. Professional peaceful people>I strongly doubt that. Anti Israel, terrorist supporting nut jobs. Sounds about right.


      May 31, 2010 at 6:00am

      " Why don't we call the Free Gaza Movement the Agree Disagree
      New Berlin Airlift?."

      Because Gaza was free until Hamas took power, as all of you know Israelis withdrew from Gaza long time ago, but that wasn't enough, so for 8 years they were firing rockets on a near by Israeli towns and villages, thats why Israel is blockading Gaza from its side. And now the funny thing: Gaza has border with Egypt, that is in no way influenced by the Israeli so called "blockade", why Arab "brothers" don't help citizens of Gaza and open their side of the border?
      You should be worried about Hamastan that oppresses its own people throw political opponents from tall buildings and lies about everything to the west. The situation has nothing in common with Berlin.
      One more thing. Israel supplies electricity and water to people that want to destroy it and are shooting mines rand ockets on civilians almost everyday, can you be more humanitarian then that?
      This dude should go to Afganistan first and try to free Taliban fighters that are always under threat from Canadian forces. Pathetic.


      May 31, 2010 at 7:30am

      Isn't there as saying relating to hammers, bags and stupidity. This guy fits.

      John Kolberstein

      May 31, 2010 at 7:34am

      Its a shame there is no coverage in the mainstream TV, what happen to CBC?! Everybody needs to know that are some good people helping the oppressed Palestinian people against the 51th state. Please Georgia more coverage to help these courageous Human beings in the flotilla help the good people of Palestine nation.