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Lawsuit Threat Slows Flotilla Launch

Most of the world has been looking on helplessly as pro-Hamas activists prepares to stage yet another naval photo op intended to besmirch Israel. But, as the New York Times reports today, one group of crafty lawyers has found a way to throw a monkey wrench into the plans of these anti-Israel agitators. Shurat HaDin-Israel Law Center, a group that has dedicated itself to holding the funders of terrorism accountable for the crimes they finance, has been contacting companies that have insured the ships that have been assembled to sail to Gaza to break the blockade of the Hamas-run strip to tell them they are leaving themselves open to prosecution for aiding terrorists. This ploy has understandably sent a chill down the spines of the some 30 maritime insurance providers who just assumed there would be no liability with their involvement in this farce.

While organizers claim their goal is humanitarian aid for the people of Gaza, their attempt to break the international isolation imposed on an area run by a bloodthirsty terrorist group will help no one but Hamas. That is especially so since no one disputes the free flow of food and medicine into Gaza, a place where not only is there no humanitarian crisis but which boasts a bustling mall and brisk car sales.

Shurat HaDin was founded in Israel in 2003 and models itself after the Southern Poverty Law Center, a group that used lawsuits to bankrupt racist groups. Shurat HaDin seeks to do the same thing to terrorists via legal work undertaken on behalf of terror victims. In the past eight years, they have sued Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, Fatah and other terror groups and won judgments that have helped slow the flow of funds to the murderers. Indeed, thanks in part to some of their lawsuits, Hamas is no longer able to use the international banking system to get cash but is instead forced to smuggle money into Gaza. That makes efforts like the flotilla to break the blockade and thus ease Hamas’s cash flow problems all the more sinister.

While the flotilla supporters say all ten of their ships are seaworthy and insured, Shurat HaDin has filed complaints with the Greek Coast Guard raising questions about the registration and insurance of seven of the vessels. Given Greece’s antipathy for Israel, it is far from clear the complaints will be fairly heard. But either way, Shurat HaDin has sent those businesses even tangentially connected to the flotilla a warning they face possible legal repercussions. Those who help fund and insure a stunt whose only purpose is to provide political support for the Islamist terror group need to know there may be consequences for their involvement in this travesty.



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