Israel sued in US over flotilla raid

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DOHA (Al Jazeera): Four flotilla activists have filed a suit against Israel in a US federal court, seeking damages for injuries they say they sustained during a 2010 Israeli raid on a boat bound for besieged Gaza Strip.

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Lawyers for the plaintiffs in the civil case, who include three Americans and one Belgian national, said on Tuesday that because the ship was flying a US flag, US laws should apply on board.

“We are arguing that this US-flagged vessel is the United States and therefore the injuries inflicted by the Israeli Defense Forces on the ship were inflicted in the United States,” Steven Schneebaum, US Counsel for the plaintiffs, said.

The 2010 military raid on the aid convoy killed 10 Turkish activists when Israeli commandos climbed down from helicopters on to six ships bringing what they said were essential supplies to Gaza’s population.

Nine Turks were shot dead in the May 31, 2010, clash when Israeli marines stormed a flotilla organized by a Turkish charity, which ignored orders to turn back as it tried to breach an Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip. Another Turk later died from wounds suffered in the attack.

Israel said the flotilla’s crew had been warned repeatedly before the raid.

Apology
Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, apologized in 2013 to Turkey for errors that might have led to the deaths of the Turkish activists.

Huwaida Arraf, a dual US and Israeli national, was on board a US boat named Challenger 1, which was part of the flotilla trying to deliver humanitarian aid in circumvention of Israel’s blockade of Gaza.

Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip more than a decade ago, but it continues to control all aspects of life in the Palestinian territory, deciding who can enter or leave.

In 2010, a UN envoy said Gaza was the world’s biggest open prison and called for an end to collective punishment of Palestinians.

TNS

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