'Is That the Behavior of a Terrorist?'

Kenneth O'Keefe vehemently denies the IDF allegations against him and demands even one shred of evidence.

Noam Sheizaf
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Noam Sheizaf

About a week after the raid on the flotilla, the IDF Spokesman's Unit issued a statement to the media entitled "Specific Flotilla Passangers [sic] Linked to Al-Qaeda, Hamas and Other Terror Organizations." O'Keefe's name appears in second place on the list. He is described as follows: "Ken O'Keefe (Born 1969 ), an American and British citizen, is a radical anti-Israel activist and operative of the Hamas Terror organization. He attempted to enter the Gaza Strip in order to form and train a commando unit for the Palestinian terror organization." (Source: http://idfspokesperson.com/2010/06/06/intel-specific-flotilla-passangers-linked- to-al-qaeda-hamas-and-other-terror-organizations-6-june-2010/ )

As usual, the information, which drew headlines in Israel and was quoted abroad, was not sourced.

Kenneth O'Keefe in Turkey, after being deported. "I would not agree to wash my face," he says.

O'Keefe vehemently denies this accusation and is demanding that the IDF spokesman supply even one shred of evidence for the allegations against him. Since his discharge from the Marines 20 years ago, he has not engaged in any military activity, he says. He does not believe in armed resistance ("except in the case of self-defence, as enshrined in international law" ) and the organization he founded, Aloha Palestine, is committed to verifiable inspections that ensure no weapons are being transported and has endorsements from well-known international figures.

"I went to Gaza to hold meetings with the people I hoped to develop trade with, among them growers of carnations who grow millions of flowers a year but cannot export them. I wanted to hear what materials were needed there and what could be done to enable some of the factories to reopen. All of that is documented. My laptop, which is still in the hands of the IDF, contains all my correspondence with the people I arranged to meet with. Everything can be easily verified.

"My activity is completely open. I spoke about it on television, I was interrogated in Israel on my previous visit there and I hid nothing. When we were in jail, I demanded to be tried on all the charges against me, and together with another Irish citizen I refused to leave Israel, but to no avail. In Ashdod I was asked only a few basic questions by an intelligence man. In jail a different intelligence man collared me for a conversation in the presence of dozens of our people, who can testify that I asked again to see a judge and face trial. Is that the behavior of a terrorist?"

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