Israel blocks witness in US anti-terrorism case

State drops anti-terrorism suit it filed against Bank of China via bereaved families, draws criticism it is bowing to pressure

The State of Israel sent a letter on Friday to American court cancelling the summoning of potential witnesses in a in an anti-terrorism case it initiated against the Bank of China. 


The letter essentially drops the lawsuit, following legal and political drama involving the governments of Israel and China, political factions in Washington, American Federal court, and bereaved families. 


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The suit was after Israel revealed the Bank of China was transferring funds to the Gaza Strip through US accounts.


Despite the State's request, China refused to close the account, and in response the State encouraged a bereaved family from New York to file a lawsuit against the bank, stating the bank had allowed dozens of money transfers to Hamas and to Jihadic Islam.


The families, whose loved ones were killed as a result of terror activity, were reassured by factions in Jerusalem to file the suit.


Once the lawsuit was filed, the Chinese threatened to cancel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's visit to China if any Israeli officials testify against Bank of China in court.


Israel then assured the Chinese that no Israeli official will testify, and Netanyahu's visit went on as planned.


It was later revealed that the Israeli government had consequently prohibited a former security official from testifying in an American court regarding the case. The cancelation of testimonies has drawn accusations from victims of Palestinian violence that Israel was bowing to pressure from China.


According to Yedioth Ahronoth, the Chinese government continued to pressure Israel to not allow the lawsuit to go through and when a delegation from China arrived in Israel earlier this month, the countries mutually agreed that Israel would drop the suit.


Shimon Shiffer is a Yedioth Ahronoth correspondant


AP contributed to this article



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פרסום ראשון: 11.16.13, 22:36
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