The State of Israel has, for the first time, expressed willingness to transfer materials to a New York court investigating Bank of China's role in funding deadly terrorist attacks.
Kol Yisrael radio has discovered that Israel sent a letter to the court this week in which it said it was willing to consider whether to send documents related to the matter and, if so, which ones.
So far, Israel has refused to provide the evidence, drawing anger from the sponsors of the petition. The New York court hearing the case requested testimony from key witness Uzi Shaya over six months ago on June 26, a request that has been ignored by the Justice Ministry in a move some have labeled "sabotage."
In November, the Justice Ministry submitted a motion to quash the subpoena on Shaya.
The reason for Israel’s refusal to cooperate thus far is probably the fact that it has been trying to advance relations with China. 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.
Previous reports indicated that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu succumbed to pressure from the Chinese government, agreeing to pull the key witness and support for the case. The agreement apparently made possible Netanyahu's visit to China last May with his family.
The saga began when the family of Daniel Wultz, a 16-year-old American killed in a 2006 Tel Aviv suicide bombing, decided to see which world countries were involved in transferring funds to terrorist organizations.
Information that has been gathered indicates that the Islamic Jihad and Hamas terrorist groups have made considerable use of Chinese bank accounts owned by Palestinian Arabs to finance their operations.
Shurat Hadin (Israel Law Center), which filed the lawsuit on behalf of the victims’ families, petitioned the Supreme Court earlier this month, demanding the Israeli Justice Ministry provide testimony in the case.
The Justice Ministry responded to Shurat Hadin's petition this week and clarified that it refuses to provide the evidence.
In its response the ministry claimed that since the motion to quash Shaya’s subpoena is still pending, the request to send testimony is "not ripe for decision," and therefore Israel will not comply with the request.
(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)