The attorney-general, Yehuda Weinstein, cited “evidentiary and legal
difficulties” as reasons for his decision to close the investigation on Israeli
citizens suspected of committing offenses in connection with the “Gaza Freedom
Flotilla” in May 2010, the Justice Ministry announced on Thursday.
had investigated suspicions that several Israeli citizens, including MK Haneen
Zoabi (Balad), participated in the flotilla and attempted to enter Gaza
illegally, in contravention of the Disengagement Implementation Law passed in
2005. None of the Israelis was suspected of attacking the IDF soldiers who took
over the flotilla, the ministry said in a press statement.
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prosecutors examined the police findings and filed a report to Weinstein,
however the attorney-general decided that the files should be closed due to
significant difficulties in proving elements of the offenses and legal questions
over the applicability of Israeli criminal law on foreign offenses, the
The Justice Ministry also emphasized that the
attorney-general’s decision only relates to those Israeli citizens suspected of
being in connection with the flotilla and did not set any rules for how any
future investigations will be conducted.
Also on Thursday, Zoabi said she
was “not surprised” at the decision to close the investigation files, including
her own file.
“This proves what I said all along,” Zoabi said. “My
participation in the flotilla was a political act and entirely legal.”
Government watchdog NGO The Legal Forum for the Land of Israel slammed
Weinstein’s decision, however.
“We sent out soldiers to risk their lives
on the decks of the [flotilla ship] and when the court should deal with the
flotilla organizers we see a shameful ineffectiveness,” said Forum director
attorney Nachi Eyal.
MK Anastasia Michaeli (Israel Beiteinu) blasted the
decision, saying it would serve to boost terrorism in Israel and
“[The decision] gives legal sanction to terrorist gangs,
wherever they may be, that they are backed by the Israeli attorney- general
himself,” Michaeli said.
MK Yariv Levin (Likud) called the
attorney-general’s decision “cowardly and dangerous.”
enforcement system was revealed today, as it bowed its head in surrender to
terror supporters at home, abandoning IDF soldiers and commanders,” Levin said.
“Arab MKs were given sweeping permission today to continue to betray the State
of Israel and their public mission.”
Meanwhile MK Dr Michael Ben-Ari
(National Union) said that the decision to close the investigation files was a
“green light to attack Israeli troops,” while his party colleague MK Arye Eldad
said the decision was “another step in the disintegration of the rule of
“Nobody would be surprised if public trust in law enforcement is
eroded and if extremists decide they are justified in taking the law into their
own hands,” Eldad said.
MK Yoel Hasson (Kadima) said the decision “took
him by surprise” and added that it “gave a green light to severe acts such as
those committed by MK Zoabi and Arab public officials.”
unfortunate that the attorney-general remained on the dry edge of the law and did
not make an effort to prove that there is an evidentiary basis for [the
activists’] actions,” Hasson said. “This gives a very bad message to elected
public representatives that they can harm the State of Israel under the
protection of the law.”
MK Zeev Elkin (Likud) said that the decision
showed the legal system was “soft and helpless when it comes to fighting
“At least elected officials have not
disconnected from the people and are using the tools at their disposal against
Zoabi,” Elkin said. “So we have done and so we will continue to act in order to
defend our country from traitors.”
In June last year, the
attorney-general also closed investigations into several foreign flotilla
activists suspected of attacking IDF soldiers after deciding to allow their
deportations for political and security reasons.
The High Court of
Justice rejected petitions by the Israel Law Center (Shurat Hadin) and the
Alamagor Terror Victims Association against those deportations and the closure
of the investigations.