Adalah defends MK Haneen Zoabi against Supreme Court Petition Demanding a Criminal Indictment for her Participation in the Gaza Freedom Flotilla

HCJ 9733/11. Ben Ari et al v. Attorney General et al.

On 14 February 2012, Adalah revealed that the Israeli military order prohibiting ships and individuals from traveling to the Gaza Strip was issued after the Gaza Freedom Flotilla left Turkish shores. Adalah disclosed that the order was issued on 28 May 2010 while the ships were already in international waters. Therefore, there was no legal impediment to the ships arrival in Gaza or any legal basis for their seizure. Adalah received a copy of the military order, signed by Commander of the Israeli Navy Eliezar Marom, through a representative of detainees that joined the Freedom Flotilla from the High Follow-Up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel.

The information is part of Adalah's response on behalf of MK Haneen Zoabi to a Supreme Court petition filed last month by far-right Knesset member Michael Ben Ari and right-wing activist Itamar Ben-Gvir. MK Ben Ari's petition demands that the Attorney General criminally indict MK Zoabi for her participation in the Gaza Freedom Flotilla in May 2010.

The Attorney General closed the investigation into the alleged offenceof illegal entry into Gaza by Israeli citizens, including MK Zoabi, on 22 December 2011. The AG decided to drop the case following "significant evidence-based and legal difficulties that were discovered in regard to proving the basis of the offense, as well as legal questions regarding the jurisdiction of Israeli penal law on crimes committed abroad."(1)

The General Director of Adalah, Attorney Hassan Jabareen, argued in the response that the petitioners are ignorant of the facts, including that the military order was issued after the flotilla's departure. They are also unaware, he argued, that MK Zoabi enjoys parliamentary immunity that applies to all of her political activities – in and out of the Knesset - while she serves as a public elected official. He added that the petition does not address the fact that the ships were attacked and seized in international waters in an area that is not subject to Israeli domestic criminal law. In addition, the petitioners failed to produce any evidence for their claim that MK Zoabi used violence against any person during the seizure of the Mavi Marmara ship.

Case Citation: HCJ 9733/11. Ben Ari et al v. Attorney General et al. (Hebrew)

Adalah's response (Hebrew)

1 See Decision of the Attorney General to close the investigation into alleged offenses by Israeli citizens who took part in the flotilla to Gaza on 31.5.10, Adalah translation from Hebrew