Daily Israel Report

Terror Victim Sues for Seizure of Flotilla Boats to Gaza

A novel lawsuit in a New York court demands the seizure of any boats in the planned flotilla to Gaza, which are accused of violating American laws.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 6/19/2011, 11:29 AM / Last Update: 6/19/2011, 11:43 AM

A novel lawsuit in a New York court demands the seizure of any boats in the planned flotilla to Gaza, which are accused of violating American laws.

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The latest counterterrorist lawfare action is based on a rarely-utilized "informant" that allows a plaintiff, an ”informer” in legal language, to privately seize ships outfitted in the United States for use against a U.S. ally, in this case Israel.

Dr. Alan Bauer, who along with his son Jonathan was seriously wounded in Palestinian Authority Arab suicide bombing attack in Jerusalem in 2002, filed the suit in a federal court in Manhattan. He is represented by Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, director of the Israeli-based Shurat HaDin (Israel Law Center) and New York attorney Robert J. Tolchin.

Israel has placed a maritime embargo against ships trying to reach Gaza. Last year, a six-ship flotilla sponsored by Turkey and the terror-linked IHH was stopped on the high seas before they could reach Gaza. The Israel Navy stopped five of the boats without opposition, but approximately 40 IHH terror activists on the sixth boat, the Mavi Mamara, brutally attacked Navy commandos as they reached deck. Nine attackers were killed before the commandos were able to take control of the boat and lead it to the port in Ashdod.

The flotilla supposedly was carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza, but a search in Ashdod revealed the Mavi Mamara was not carrying any aid. Instead, the terrorists had prepared lethal weapons and brought on board two guns for a planned confrontation with the Navy.

Last week, Turkey said it would not allow the Mavi Mamara to leave its shores. Activists still are planning to sail the other boats to try to break the embargo against the smuggling of terrorists and weapons not Hamas-controlled Gaza.

Bauer’s suit seeks to confiscate 14 ships outfitted with funds “unlawfully raised in the United States by anti-Israel groups, including the Free Gaza Movement.” The lawsuit contends that furnishing and outfitting the ships, which are being used for hostilities against a U.S. ally, violates American law.  

Attorney Darshan-Leitner said, "We intend to seize the Gaza flotilla ships 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.  Escalating attacks on Israel from all directions require new and innovative responses. This unprecedented private action will help block their efforts to breach the coastal blockade and smuggle materials to Hamas in Gaza."

Attorney Robert Tolchin added, "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."

Dr. Alan Bauer was born in Chicago to parents who fled Hitler's Germany as children. He lives in Jerusalem, and came to Israel in 1992 on a Fulbright Fellowship to the Hebrew University, holds four U.S. patents in the area of diagnostics, and consults and has a start-up in food safety.