MK Tzipi Livni's (Hatnua) Justice Ministry responded to Shurat Hadin's (Israel Law Center) January 14 petition in the Supreme Court, which demanded the ministry provide testimony in the US court case over Bank of China's (BOC) funding of terrorism. The ministry clarified that it refuses to provide the evidence drawing anger from the sponsors of the petition.
A New York court trying the case investigating Bank of China's role in funding deadly attacks requested testimony from key witness Uzi Shaya over 6 months ago on June 26, a request that has been ignored by the Justice Ministry in a move some have labeled "sabotage." Last November 15, the Justice Ministry submitted a motion to quash the subpoena on Shaya.
In its response, sent by letter this Wednesday, Livni's ministry claims that since the motion to quash the subpoena is still pending, the request to send testimony is "not ripe for decision," and therefore Israel will not comply with the request.
Attorney Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, head of Shurat Hadin, slammed Livni's refusal to supply evidence in the case her group is fighting on behalf of 22 families of terror victims. BOC has been sued for laundering millions of dollars to terror organizations such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
"This response, full of contradictions, is a clear attempt by the Justice Ministry to cover up its own incompetence and displays their shameful disregard for the New York judicial system," commented Darshan-Leitner. "The evidence in Israel's possession is crucial to the efforts by the families of terror victims to attain justice, and hold the BOC accountable for facilitating the funding of Palestinian terror groups and their murder of innocent Jews."
The Shurat Hadin head argues that Livni, who she terms the "Minister of Injustice," refused the request not because she didn't have the time to do so, but because she "has cowered to the Chinese Government and forgotten these Israeli families."
Israel has been advancing relations with China rapidly; reports from late December revealed that the Prime Minister's Office, the Foreign Ministry and exporters in the defense industry are trying to challenge the US limitations on Israeli defense exports to China.
But Livni has failed to aid terror victims in the past, long before the recent warming of relations between Israel and China, notes Shurat Hadin. She points as an example to how following the 2000 Ramallah lynching of two Israeli soldiers, in her capacity as Foreign Minister Livni ignored a legal request by Shurat Hadin to supply documents confirming or denying the status of the Palestinian Authority (PA) as a sovereign state, as the PA had arguing for "sovereign immunity."
The group reports that Livni failed to appear at a Jerusalem District Court trying the case, and only the threat of jail time for being held in contempt of court did she comply with the request, albeit 6 months late.