Dear Ted, From Ditsana Darshan-Lietner
I am happy to report that we have achieved some important victories in the struggle to block the anti-Israel Flotilla from smuggling contraband to the Hamas controlled Gaza Strip. Last week, we were informed that after sending warning letters to a French insurance company cautioning them not to insure a boat that was to be launched from Marseilles, the company decided not to provide the French boat with insurance. As such, the ship will not be allowed to sail out to join the Flotilla from a French port. Then on Thursday, we learned that the main Turkish boat, the Mavi Marmara was pulling out of the Flotilla as well. According to the NY Times, the ships inability to obtain maritime insurance to operate was thwarting its ability to lead the Flotilla: “Because of insurance difficulties and political pressure, it remained unclear whether the ship on which last year’s deaths occurred, the Mavi Marmara of Turkey, would join the flotilla as planned.” On Friday the international media was confirming that the Mavi Marmara would not sail because of its insurance difficulties!
On Thursday morning, Shurat HaDin and our American co-counsel, Robert J. Tolchin of New York, filed an unprecedented lawsuit to seize ships used by the Islamic and anti-Israeli organizations to breach Israel’s coastal blockade. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of an American terror victim injured by a Palestinian suicide bomber. The suit, Bauer v The Mavi Marmara, was filed in Manhattan federal court. It seeks to confiscate 14 ships outfitted with funds unlawfully raised in the United States by anti-Israel groups, including The Free Gaza Movement (“FGM”). In May 2010, several of these ships, led by the Mavi Marmara, attempted to breach the blockade. The resulting violence caused the deaths of nine militants and injury to numerous Israeli Navy SEALs.
The plaintiff, American biologist, Dr. Alan Bauer, who along with his son Jonathan was seriously injured in a Palestinian suicide bombing on March 21, 2002 in Jerusalem, alleges that FGM and other American-based anti-Israel organizations have raised funds in the United States to outfit the Gaza Flotilla ships. The lawsuit contends that furnishing and outfitting the ships, which are being used for hostilities against a U.S. ally, violates American law. The plaintiff rests his claim upon a rarely-utilized “informant” statute (18 U.S.C. section 962) that allows a plaintiff (called an “informer”) to privately seize ships outfitted in the United States for use against a U.S. ally. The law we are basing this cutting edge suit upon is an anti-piracy statute dating back to 1794.
This is the first time a lawsuit in the U.S. has been brought to seize the Gaza Flotilla ships themselves. We aim to show that funds were illegally raised by the FGM in the U.S. to purchase and outfit the Flotilla boats in violation of the Neutrality Act. We contend that organizing a naval expedition to violently breach Israel’s coastal blockade of the terrorist controlled Gaza is a hostile act against an American ally.
It is our intention to seize all the boats and turn them over to a victim of Palestinian terrorism. The extremists organizing these hostile provocations against Israel must not be allowed to illegally raise funds for their operations in the U.S. This unprecedented private action will help block their efforts to breach the coastal blockade and smuggle materials to Hamas in Gaza.
My colleague Robert Tolchin adds that, “this lawsuit will bring judgment to people who have until now ignored the law. Each flotilla ship is an attack on Israel and thus a slap in the face to the United States and every other nation that is at peace with Israel. The flotilla organizers, and the owners of these boats, should be held accountable for the damages and deaths they cause.”
Must See Interview and other updates on PJTV’s Flotilla Watch 2011.
Shurat HaDin is using the courts to fight back against the extremists, please support our efforts!