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Originally published May 31, 2010 at 10:02 PM | Page modified June 1, 2010 at 8:37 AM

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Orcas Island activist, 80, reported safe

An Orcas Island man was among those on the flotilla that was raided by Israeli troops Monday.

Seattle Times staff reporter

David Schermerhorn, 80, a retired television-commercial producer from Orcas Island, was on the flotilla that was raided by Israeli troops Monday.

Kate Schermerhorn, David's daughter, said Monday that she hasn't talked to her father since the raid but has heard from the American Embassy that her father was taken into custody by Israeli officials and is unharmed.

She said her father, who has been to Gaza three times, was in the flotilla as an activist with the Free Gaza Movement.

"Our family is totally outraged at what's gone on," she said. "I can't believe it's come to this."

She said she had talked with him by phone several hours before the raid, when her father said the flotilla was being followed by the Israeli navy. Later on, she said, she received several emergency messages sent from his GPS locator, saying something like, "Being approached by Israeli navy," along with the latitude and longitude of his location.

Demonstrations against the Israeli actions took place in Seattle and Tacoma Monday, joining those in other cities around the world.

In Seattle, about 100 people gathered at Seattle Center, distributing literature and marching silently through the grounds, where the Northwest Folklife Festival was taking place.

"We want people to know that there are aid workers being attacked for no reason other than taking the Palestinian side," said Amin Odehof Voices of Palestine, one of the groups that organized the Seattle Center vigil.

Rob Jacobs, Northwest regional director of StandWithUs/Northwest, which advocates for and educates about Israel, said he knew of no local pro-Israel demonstrations being planned.

"We look at this as a tragic situation that never needed to happen," Jacobs said. "Had they delivered the humanitarian aid through the normal channels, it would've gotten to Gaza. This was a PR stunt that unfortunately went tragically bad."

Janet I. Tu: 206-464-2272 or jtu@seattletimes.com

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