The IDF Is Silent

The army dodges questions concerning Kenneth O’Keefe’s allegations.

Detailed questions were submitted to the IDF Spokesman’s Unit concerning O’Keefe’s allegations, both in regard to events during interception of the ship and the army’s claim that he is a Hamas activist. The IDF Spokesman’s response: “The Marmara events were investigated by the IDF in an operational inquiry carried out by the Eiland committee [headed by Major General (res.) Giora Eiland, former head of the National Security Council]. The main points of the investigation were published. The events are now being investigated by the public committee headed by his honor, Judge Turkel. At this stage, until the conclusion of the investigations, we will not address specific questions on the subject."

A spokesman for the Israel Police, which was responsible for security when the deportees were taken to the airport to be deported, stated: “The activity of the Israel Police at Ben-Gurion Airport was carried out irreproachably, with the cooperation of the Prisons Authority, the Interior Ministry and the Airports Authority, the mission being the preservation of public order during all the activity at the airport.”

The Immigration and Population Administration, which was responsible for O’Keefe during his detention at the airport, stated: “O’Keefe spent the two days in a waiting facility before a flight (a facility for those denied entry) and not in detention. No form of violence was used against him, and any such statements constitute slander against the administration and its employees.” The spokesman for the Immigration and Population Administration added that O’Keefe’s allegations “that he was ‘left’ in Israel for immaterial reasons are lying, baseless and very far from reality.” The authority explains that the aim was to remove O’Keefe as quickly as possible, to which end a meeting was arranged for him with the Irish ambassador, but “Mr. O’Keefe refused adamantly to fly and only after two days did he deign to fly.”

During his time in the facility, the spokesman adds, he objected to administration employees treating his injuries and insisted on flying “with blood on my face,” in his words. “We wish to make it clear that Mr. O’Keefe acted provocatively throughout the period of his contact with the authorities and tried constantly to stir unrest among the other passengers,” the spokesman added.