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Put Israel’s Netanyahu on trial for war crimes, says mum of Gaza campaigner

By Brendan McDaid

The mother of campaigner Fiachra O Luain who was caught up in the Gaza flotilla massacre has called for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to be put on trial for war crimes.

Eleanor Lamb spoke as her son was due to return home after a U-turn by the Israeli authorities on charging him with failure to co-operate.

Ms Lamb said: “Benjamin Netanyahu should be tried as a war criminal and there should be an international embargo placed on Israel. What other country could attack a flotilla of aid workers on international waters comprising over 50 different nationalities and get away with it?”

The Irish Embassy told Ms Lamb on Monday that Mr O Luain was being charged after the 28-year-old refused to sign a declaration saying he had entered Israel illegally.

Mr O Luain, who went to school in Londonderry, reportedly replied he had had no intention to visit Israel in the first place but was brought there after being taken from the Challenger 1 boat with hundreds of others from the flotilla.

The arrests happened after Israeli forces ambushed the flotilla from the air on Monday morning and opened fire, killing nine people on board the Mavi Marmara boat.

The Israeli army claimed they came under attack first.

Mr O Luain, from Carndonagh in Co Donegal, and several other Irish people were yesterday taken from the high-security prison in Be’er Sheva in central Israel to the capital Tel Aviv in preparation for their deportation yesterday.

Ms Lamb, who has not yet spoken to her son, told the Telegraph: “I have been speaking to the Department for Foreign Affairs and they are being flown out from the Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv to Istanbul in Turkey and from there they will be taken to Dublin. All the other passengers will be taken to their respective countries.

“The Irish Embassy officials in Tel Aviv are being refused access to them before they leave Israel but it is expected that the Irish Consulate officials will meet them when they arrive in Turkey.”

Ms Lamb said she expected her son to have arrived home by the end of today, but added that there were hundreds of people from the flotilla waiting to be deported.

Ms Lamb said the first thing she would do on seeing her son is “give him a great big hug”, but added that her thoughts were with “those families whose loved ones will be coming home in a box”.

Speaking about those onboard the MV Rachel Corrie which was last night attempting the final push to reach Gaza, she said: “I hope they will be safe. The Israelis would be very foolish to attempt any violence.”

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