Shurat HaDin Urges Legislation to Allow Terror Victims to Seize Flotilla Ships

Some things just never change. “In every generation there are those who rise up to destroy us, but the Holy One, blessed be He, saves us from their hand.”

Tragically, the centuries old words of Israel’s sages, as recorded in the Passover Haggadah, seem every bit as relevant today as they were when they were first inscribed generations ago. In addition, to the escalating threat of Hezbollah missiles in the North, Hamas missiles in the South and Iranian missiles from the Gulf, the Jewish State finds itself facing a global movement of haters organizing against Israel in every diplomatic forum brandishing unilateral declarations, rag-tag flotillas, BDS and Lawfare all designed to challenge Israel’s right to exist.

Next month will see another attempt by the Islamic extremists to launch a new naval expedition seeking to run Israel’s blockade of the Hamas controlled Gaza Strip. The so-called “Freedom Flotilla 2” is planning to set sail on May 31st, 2011 ( the one year anniversary of the previous Islamic flotilla organized in Turkey). This year’s announced flotilla will include numerous boats and up to a thousand passengers from many different countries, including European elected officials.

After intercepting last year’s Turkish boat, the Mavi Marmara, in an operation that left 9 of the extremist on board dead and several IDF soldiers injured, the Israeli government foolishly decided to return the ship to Turkey and release all the captured terrorist passengers. Hours after the Israeli raid, Shurat HaDin filed an emergency petition in Israel’s High Court of Justice demanding that the prisoners be indicted for attempting to smuggle resources to Hamas in violation of international law.

No one had even investigated who had killed the Jihadists on the ship or who had sent them. However, in a hasty and panicked ruling the High Court rejected our petition and bowed to international political pressure. The Court allowed the extremists to return to Turkey to regroup and continue to organize another effort to run the naval blockade again this year. Shortly after the High court’s ruling, the IDF finally identified several of the boat’s passengers as Hamas members.

At the time, Shurat HaDin also filed another lawsuit in the Beer Sheva District Court on behalf of the Weinstein Family, terror victims, whose son Adam was tragically killed by a Hamas suicide bomber on a Jerusalem pedestrian mall in 2001.

We insisted that the Mavi Marmara belonged to Hamas and should be given to the Weinstein Family and other Hamas victims as compensation for the injuries the terrorist group inflicted upon them. The Beer Sheva court dismissed the Weinstein’s case claiming that there was no proof that the Mavi Marmara ship really belonged to Hamas.

And so the Turkish boat was allowed to return sail for Istanbul where according to news reports it will lead next month’s flotilla. A short while after the ship was released, evidence surfaced of the close connections between Hamas and Mavi Marmara organizers.

Refusing to allow the terror victims to seize the ships being utilized to run the Gaza blockade to satisfy court judgments against Hamas and the other Palestinian terrorist groups simply encourages the extremists to use the released boats in future flotillas. Confiscating the ships and giving them to the terror victims would, on the other hand, provide Israel an amazing opportunity to: a) highlight the terrorist nature of the Hamas regime in Gaza b) focus the world on the dangers of providing material support and resources to Hamas and most importantly c) deter the extremist groups from sailing future boats (which they know will be confiscated and sold off ) into the Israeli blockade.

Shurat HaDin is proposing legislation to the Knesset that would provide that any property, including boats, utilized by any party to attempt to run the Israeli naval blockade of Gaza will be seized by the Israeli government and sold off to compensate the victims of Palestinian terrorism. Attempting to run the blockade is a violation of international law and any property used in the commission of this crime should be seized.

This provision alone would give the extremists and the owners of the ships serious pause before they allow them to sail towards Gaza. There are many precedents for such forfeiture laws internationally and its high time the Knesset starts to act preemptively instead of waiting until the next public relations debacle plays out into Hamas’ hands. Look at this section 5 of this statute called the Florida Contraband Forfeiture Act for an idea of what can be easily done.

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