High Court rejects flotilla suits: Soldiers defended their lives
Supreme Court President Dorit Beinish flatly rejects legal suits from rightist, leftist camps on raid of pro-Palestinian flotilla en route to Gaza, harshly criticizes petitioners while defending soldiers. 'Soldiers forced to respond in order to protect their lives'
The IDF receives decisive legal support. The High Court outright rejected Thursday suits filed this week by the rightist and leftist camps over the flotilla raid at sea.
In the ruling, which is signed by Supreme Court President Dorit Beinish, it is written, "The soldiers were forced to respond in order to defend their lives. Unfortunately, the action ended, as was not to be expected, with the loss of lives. Nine people were killed and soldiers and flotilla participants were wounded. The action ended with the flotilla being stopped, its passengers removed and detained and Israel."
The suits filed by the leftist organizations asked that the High Court deem that the action was carried out with jurisdiction, that the detainees be released, and their details published.
The suits filed by the rightist camp, the court was asked to intervene to prevent the release of the detainees.
President Beinish rejected all the suits "in the absence of just cause to intervene in the decision of the attorney general."
In its decision, the High Court defended the IDF action against the flotilla. Beinish ruled that during the takeover of the Marmara "the soldiers encountered a harsh and violent response on the part of the flotilla participants on the ship. The soldiers were attacked with knives, clubs, and metal rods. Attempts were made to snatch their personal weapons and to violently injure them. One of the soldiers was even dropped over the side of the ship."
Beinish also defended Israel's decision to block the ship's entry to the Gaza Strip: "In light of Hamas' control of the Gaza Strip, Israel has take various steps meant to prevent direct access to the Gaza Strip, including the imposition of a naval blockade on the Strip, which, according to the State's declaration, is meant to block the infiltration of weapons and ammunition into Hamas ranks which have carried out shooting and terrorist attacks in Israeli territory for years with the goal of harming civilians."
"Israel," Beinish explained, "made efforts to prevent the flotilla from reaching Gaza's shores to violate the blockade. Among other things, the State offered the flotilla's organizers to unload the cargo carried on the ship and to transfer the shipment, which was meant to reach Gaza directly through them, via Israel. This offer was rejected."
Beinish: Petition filed in haste
In the leftist suit, the petitioners ascribed "grave and illegal actions" to the State of Israel. The petitioners deemed Israel's actions as "massacre, murder, and a violent, barbaric act of piracy."
Justice Beinish ruled on this suit, "In light of the State Prosecutor's response and the court's comments, the petitioners revoked their petition and the crass style they adopted."
"It is clear that the suit was filed in haste. Even though the petitioners knew nothing of what had occurred, they did not hesitate to hurriedly to place the gravest possible stain on the IDF forces' actions while using sharp and abrasive language that was out of place. Despite this, because the requested help was the release of the detainees, the petition was not flatly rejected at this stage, but the response of the State was requested by the following day."
One of the petitions was submitted by the al-Jazeera television network on behalf of journalists working for them that were arrested on the ship. This petition requested that their employees who participated in the flotilla be released. This petition was made irrelevant when the petitioners were released.
In another three petitions, which were filed by the organization Shurat HaDin Israel Law Center and the Almagor Terrorist Victims Association, the court was asked to block the release of the foreign flotilla participants and to banish them from Israel, as was authorized by Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein.
The central claim of these suits was that the detainees committed offenses that necessitate an investigation of the facts and circumstances surrounding the event, as well as a decision regarding putting them on trial.
These petitions, too, were rejected by the court. "The decision to release the detainees is a decision within the realm of the attorney general's considerations. This court ruled in a long list of rulings that the extent of its intervention in the attorney general's decisions regarding investigation or placing someone on trial is limited to unusual and exceptional cases."
The court also ruled, "The developments in the international arena in this case indicate a particular political sensitivity in everything regarding law enforcement officials' treatment of the flotilla participants. The attorney general noted that all the government officials tied to these political aspects are being watched.
"After considering the fact that nine of the flotilla's participants were killed and dozens were injured, he reached the conclusion that the public, political, and security interests in this case trump law enforcement. We did not find any ground for intervening in this decision or in the considerations at its foundation."