A still from a YouTube video showing Soowahlie elder Larry Commodore on board the Al Awda as part of the Freedom Flotilla to Gaza. The ship was boarded by the Israeli navy on July 29 and all were detained. (YouTube)

VIDEO: B.C. First Nations elder arrested by Israeli navy en route to Gaza

Chilliwack’s Larry Commodore part of Freedom Flotilla bringing medical aid to Palestinians

A local Sto:lo elder was arrested and possibly injured on Sunday by the Israeli navy while he was taking part in an activist mission to bring medical aid supplies to the Gaza Strip.

Larry Commodore of the Soowahlie first Nation is among 22 members of international group of participants who were on the Freedom Flotilla Coalition’s ship Al Awda that was stopped and boarded by the Israeli navy about 50 nautical miles from Gaza.

Knowing arrest and detention was likely, participants on board created YouTube videos to be sent out after the incident.

Commodore’s pre-recorded video calls on those at home to contact the federal government and the Member of Parliament for Chilliwack-Hope.

“If you are watching this it means I have been kidnapped by the Israeli occupation forces,” Commodore said. “I’m probably being detained in an Israeli jail. I want all those at home to contact the local MP for Chilliwack, Mark Strahl and Minister of International Affairs Carolyn Bennett. Contact them, tell them what is going on there and demand that Canada act to free me from the prison.”

It was unclear what condition Commodore is was in by Monday, but his friend and fellow Chilliwack activist Ian Stephen said Commodore was injured.

“Larry was arrested & taken to hospital for stitches,” Stephen said in a Tweet. “Was visited by Cdn Consular Services & asked them to tell us he’s ok. Prayers for his safe return home.”

The video was recorded before the predictable detention, and the boat’s participants were taken to Givon prison in Israel, according to a Freedom Flotilla Coalition news statement issued Monday.

“Israel’s capture of the lead boat in this Gaza-bound flotilla may seem like a predictable outcome to some, but that doesn’t make it any less violent nor any less illegal,” the statement said. “Our second boat Freedom will follow Al Awda within a day or two, and the Freedom Flotilla will continue until the blockade ends and Palestinians of Gaza regain their full freedom of movement.”

The Israeli navy reported the seizure of the Norwegian-flagged Al Awda happened “without exceptional incident,” but Israeli citizen Zohar Chamberlain Regev reported that people were tasered and hit by masked soldiers.

The Freedom Flotilla Coalition describes itself as a “grassroots, people-to-people solidarity movement consisting of campaigns and initiatives from all over the world, working together to end the illegal Israeli blockade of Gaza.”

Over the years the group frequently tries to break the blockade to Gaza. The usual outcome is that the boat is stopped by the Israeli navy, those on board are detained, then they are deported to their home countries.

Of the 22 on board the Al Awda, two were Israeli citizens and were charged with attempting to enter Gaza and conspiracy to commit a crime. They were released on bail this morning.

Following the Al Awda is a Swedish-flagged yacht called Freedom Italy, with 36 activists from 15 different countries.

• RELATED: Chilliwack First Nations bands reject Kinder Morgan cash – Larry Commodore

• RELATED: Chilliwack-area chief touts economic benefits of pipeline deal – Larry Commodore


@PeeJayAitch
paul.henderson@theprogress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

 

The Al Awda before it left Italy for its mission to bring medical aid to Gaza. (Freedom Flotilla)

Just Posted

Special Public Avalanche Warning for Most Mountainous Regions of BC

Avalanche Canada is issuing a Special Public Avalanche Warning for recreational backcountry… Continue reading

Revelstoke developer frustrated with permit delays

Phase 2-3 of Mackenzie Village has been with city staff for 18 months

Glimpses of Revelstoke’s past

125 Years Ago: Kootenay Star, December 16, 1893 There were about 200… Continue reading

Avalanche control scheduled today on Highway 1 east and west of Revelstoke

Avalanche control work is scheduled today for two different locations along Highway… Continue reading

Revy let’s talk: Christmas cheer, or not

It’s Christmas time in Revelstoke. It’s a time of celebration, lights are… Continue reading

Omar Khadr wants changes to bail conditions

‘My life is held in suspension’, says the former Guantanamo Bay detainee

Sissons scores OT winner as Predators beat Canucks 4-3

VIDEO: Vancouver battles back to earn single point in Nashville

Lions announce seven members of coaching staff not coming back for 2019

The operational moves come two days after the Lions announced DeVone Claybrooks as the team’s new head coach

Missing man last seen in Shuswap

Red Deer RCMP would like public’s help locating elderly man with dementia last observed in Sicamous

$12K awarded to atheist family who oppose Christmas, Hanukkah in B.C. classroom

Gary Mangel,May Yasue said holidays, Remembrance Day and Valentine’s Day not appropriate in preschool

Aboriginal poet faces backlash for calling out NHL-themed totem poles

Rebecca Thomas says she received backlash for asking a drugstore chain to remove NHL merchandise

No plans yet for free WiFi on BC Transit buses

BC Transit says they are monitoring the roll-out of free WiFi on Translink vehicles

Some Kotex tampons recalled in Canada and U.S.

In some cases, tampon users sought medical attention “to remove tampon pieces left in the body.”

Sex-assault squad investigated eight incidents at Toronto all-boys’ school

The interim president of a Roman Catholic all-boys school rocked by student-on-student abuse allegations said the football program was cancelled for next year.

Most Read