"Dearborn protesters decry Israeli raid"
by Oralandar Brand-Williams / The Detroit News
Dearborn -- About 200 protestors are gathering this afternoon at Dearborn City Hall, protesting the attack of a flotilla reportedly carrying aid to Gaza.
They carried signs reading "Divest in Israel" and "Stop All U.S. Aid to Israel Now" at the rally that began at 4 p.m. Maha Mustafa of Dearborn carried a small Palestinian flag as she protested the Monday attack by Israeli forces that reportedly killed nine people.
"This is about humanity," said Mustafa, who came with her teenage daughter. "This doesn't have a religion. This doesn't have a color. That ship was under siege and denied to take aid."
The rally is the first of a handful of events this week in Metro Detroit condemning the raid, which has sparked an international outcry against Israel. Student groups at local universities also plan a candlelight vigil at 7 p.m. Thursday at Dearborn City Hall.
Israel implemented the blockade against Gaza in 2007 to protest the area's takeover by the Palestinian militant group Hamas.
Richard Nodel, president of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Metropolitan Detroit, said the local Jewish community "continues its strong support of Israel's right to defend itself, including its blockade on Gaza, a terrorist-controlled enclave on its border."
"That blockade -- in which Egypt participates -- prevents more sophisticated arms from reaching the hands of the Hamas terrorists who continue to plan terror attacks and fire missiles at Israel. For Israel and Israelis, the blockade is a life-and-death situation," Nodel said in a statement Tuesday.
Nodel said video shot during the operation "clearly shows, Israeli seamen were ambushed yesterday while attempting to board a ship trying to get through the Gaza blockade."
A Metro Detroit native who was arrested Monday during the raid, meanwhile, has been released, her sister said.
Huwaida Arraf, who grew up in Roseville and graduated from the University of Michigan, was aboard the Gaza-bound ship Challenger 1 when Israeli soldiers stormed the ship. No one on Arraf's ship was killed.
Mariam Arraf, who lives in Clinton Township, said her sister told her that she was assaulted during the detention in an Israeli prison.
"She told me that they would use a lot of physical force," said Mariam Arraf today. "She told me they used Tasers on them and that she was elbowed in the jaw."
Mariam Arraf said her sister told her she didn't know why the flotilla came under attack.
"They had white flags and they were in international waters," Mariam Arraf said. "They had no weapons and they were not doing anything wrong."
Mariam Arraf said her sister was taken to an unknown location and thrown from a moving car by Israeli soldiers.
She said an ambulance took her to Jerusalem where she was given assistance.
"She did not know where she was," Mariam Arraf said. "She had no cell phone ...no money."
Huwaida Arraf, who lives in New York City, will remain in Jerusalem and continue her mission on behalf of the Free Gaza Movement, her sister said.
"She said she's staying there because she still has a lot of work to do," Mariam Arraf said. "My sister is very brave and fearless even though we worry about her safety."
From The Detroit News: http://www.detnews.com/article/20100601/METRO/6010408/1409/Dearborn-protesters-decry-Israeli-raid#ixzz0phLezP7Q