Flotillas to Gaza will continue to sail despite court ruling

8 Feb

Roger Fowler, from Kia Ora Gaza (NZ), and veteran US peace activist Ann Wright visit one of the 2018 flotilla boats in Sweden after the Freedom Flotilla Coalition planning conference in Gothenburg last year. The boat was being prepared to join 3 other boats due to sail to Gaza later that year as the 2018 international Freedom Flotilla’s attempt to break Israel’s illegal blockade of the besieged Palestinian enclave. Prominent union leader, Mike Treen, was the NZ representative on board the Al Awda that was illegally seized and confiscated by the Israeli navy in July last year, in international waters.[ https://kiaoragaza.wordpress.com/2018/08/03/tasered-beaten-handcuffed-but-i-would-do-it-all-again/ ]

Ann Wright, told Kia Ora Gaza today, that “while an Israeli court has officially ruled that the State of Israel can “legally” confiscate ships used in flotillas to break the IDF’s naval blockade of Gaza, the Gaza Freedom Flotilla Coalition of 14 countries will continue to sail ships to bring international attention to the horrific, illegal Israeli blockade of Gaza!”

Wright added, “The ships were stolen in international waters, the crew and passengers taken against their will (kidnapped) to a country where they did NOT want to go (Israel) – a form of extraordinary rendition, [they were] imprisoned and ultimately deported.”

Some of the participants of the international Women’s Boat to Gaza, the Zaytouna, before they departed Messina, Sicily, in October 2016. New Zealand’s Marama Davidson MP can be seen top left.

See today’s Jerusalem Post report below:

Court sets new precedent against flotillas used to break IDF Gaza blockade

Permits state to seize Zaytouna-Oliva after past seizure attempts rejected.

By Yonah Jeremy Bob, Jerusalem Post, 7 February 2019

The Haifa District Court has ruled that the state can confiscate ships used in flotillas attempting to break the IDF’s naval blockade of Gaza, setting a precedent which could deter the flotilla tactic.

On Wednesday, the Haifa District Attorney’s Office announced the decision issued earlier in the week by Haifa Court Deputy President Ron Sokol, approving the state’s request to seize the Zaytouna-Olivia, which sailed from Barcelona in a September 2016 “women’s flotilla” to break the blockade.

The sailboat was taken over by the IDF in October 2016. The state has maintained a blockade of Gaza for over a decade, saying it has a right to do so under international law because of the ongoing state of war with Hamas, which controls Gaza.

The IDF used female soldiers to take over the ship to reduce the possibility of friction with the all-female crew.

In contrast, various human rights groups, including those involved in flotillas, criticize the blockade as violating international law and causing collective suffering of Gazan civilians.

International bodies which have looked at the issue are split over the blockade’s legality.

Although the state has tried this move before, Sokol had previously rejected a confiscation request, which was upheld by the Supreme Court.

In August 2016, the Supreme Court rejected the state’s attempt to confiscate the ship SV Estelle, which was used in a 2012 flotilla.

The basis of that rejection was that the state took 10 months before applying to confiscate the ship, a delay which the court viewed as creating injustice.

However, the three justices – Supreme Court President Miriam Naor, Hanan Melcer and Salim Joubran – had left open the possibility then of confiscating ships in the future if the same delays and other mistakes were avoided.

The theoretical basis for confiscating the Estelle and other boats would be the international law of the sea as embodied by England’s Naval Prize Act of 1864.

In light of the court’s essential endorsement of confiscation and the state making sure that in this case it moved to seize the ship in a reasonable amount of time, Sokol granted the confiscation.

Haifa District Court lawyer Dr. Hadar Mousri called the ruling, “an additional piece of the legal shield against repeated attempts to use the law to delegitimize the blockade,” and noted that it set a precedent in balancing the right to protest through a flotilla versus the right of the state to confiscate a ship which tries to violate the blockade. [END]

Marama Davidson’s ‘SOS statement’ was broadcast as the Israeli navy hi-jacked the ‘Women’s Boat to Gaza’ in international waters in 2016.

One Response to “Flotillas to Gaza will continue to sail despite court ruling”

  1. QCPal February 9, 2019 at 4:53 pm #

    Reblogged this on QCpal.

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