Women’s Boat to Gaza sues Israeli government over theft of Zaytouna-Oliva

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In September 2016, the Women’s Boat to Gaza, Freedom Flotilla mission sailed the Zaytouna-Oliva from Barcelona. The boat stopped in Ajaccio, Corsica, France and Messina, Sicily, Italy before heading to Gaza, Palestine. On October 5 it was intercepted by the Snapir unit of the Israeli navy in international waters 34 nautical miles off the shore. The 13 women on board were taken against their will to the Israeli port of Ashdod, where they were interrogated and accused of entering Israeli illegally. The Zaytouna-Oliva a 15 m long sailing vessel was towed to Ashdod and then to the navy base in Haifa.

The State of Israel had presented a demand to confiscate the boat at the maritime court in Haifa on October 16, based on the Naval Prize law of the British Empire from 1864.

The Freedom Flotilla Coalition represented by Gaby Lasky and partners law office defends the right of international peace activist to sail freely in the Mediterranean Sea, to protest by non-violent means the illegal and inhuman blockade imposed by Israel on the Gaza Strip and claims that the vessel or its value should be returned to it.

Our plan of defense includes bringing testimonies from inside Gaza to prove how harsh the living conditions are under the closure – aiming to question its legality in an Israeli court.

Our lawyer in Israel Gaby Lasky filed an excellent 23 page appeal to the court to preserve the Zaytouna. The excellent brief can be read here: zaytouna court case march 2018

A hearing in the case was held in September 2017.

March 2017 Press Release

March 5, 2017, at 9.30 am, Judge Ron Sokol of the Haifa District Court, resumed deliberations on the government of Israel’s demand to confiscate the boat Zaytouna-Oliva, captured last year by the Israeli Navy in international waters (see following background). The proceedings was held in room 617 at the court building at 12 Palyam St., Haifa.

The court is acting in the capacity of an “Admiralty Court”, under a 19th Century British law which Israel inherited from the time of pre-1948 British rule and which is invoked against boats trying to breach the blockage of Gaza. Zohar Chamberlain Regev, an Israeli citizen living in Australia who is the registered owner of the Zaytouna-Oliva, is represented by Israeli Human Rights lawyer Gaby Lasky.

Activists concerned about the deteriorating situation in the Gaza Strip intend to maintain a presence in the courtroom. By coincidence, the proceedings take place at a rare moment when the mainstream Israeli media pays some attention to the situation in Gaza, with even senior members of the Israeli political and military establishment openly admitting that Gaza is undergoing a sever and deteriorating humanitarian crisis. For further details you can call Zohar Chamberlain Regev +34 647077426 or Adv. Gaby Lasky +972-(0)54-4418988.

The Freedom Flotilla Coalition goes to Israeli court demanding the release of the boat Zaytouna-Oliva illegally confiscated during the Women’s Boat to Gaza Mission.

The Freedom Flotilla Coalition demands the release of the boat Zaytouna-Oliva, stolen by Israel on October 5, 2016 in international waters 34 miles off Gaza and outside the self-declared Israeli security zone as the Women’s Boat to Gaza sailed on its 1,715 mile mission to break the illegal Israeli blockade of Gaza.

After an eight hour trip from the point of theft and arrest of the 13 passengers from 13 countries, including a Nobel Peace Laureate and two members of Parliament from Algeria and from New Zealand, the Zaytouna was taken from Ashdod harbor to Haifa harbor where it is currently being allowed to deteriorate without proper inspection and maintenance. Israeli lawyers hired by the Gaza Freedom Flotilla are demanding in Israeli court the return of the Zaytouna.


December 2016 Press Release

Today, Monday 19 December, 2016 (13:00) Haifa District court (acting as Maritime court) at Ave. Pal Yam 15a, Haifa, there will be a protest against the ongoing illegal blockade of Gaza and to demand the return of our Freedom Flotilla boat so that we can take it to Gaza without delay.

The Freedom Flotilla Coalition (FFC) has been challenging the blockade of the Gaza Strip for years, employing direct action, consisting of boats sailing to and from Gaza.

The most recent attempt was the Women’s Boat to Gaza, which ended when a sailing boat (Zaytouna-Oliva), with 13 women from different countries, sailed across the Mediterranean Sea towards Gaza. As with all of our boats in the last five years, the Israeli Navy – deeply involved in blockading Gaza and stifling its economy – illegally boarded the Zaytouna-Oliva in international waters, using an especially raised Women’s Naval Corps (the Snapir Unit) to drag off the women activists on board and take them to detention. The boat was taken to the Israeli port of Ashdod and the women on board deported from Ben Gurion Airport, denied a chance to get to Gaza and meet with the city’ inhabitants which they regard as sisters and brothers in Palestine.

The Zaytouna-Oliva was retained by the Israeli authorities which started proceedings to impound it, citing old British laws dating to the time of the Napoleonic Wars which were then used to impound French ships captured by the British Royal Navy; such legal procedures were applied in British Mandatory Palestine and retained as part of Israeli law.

The Israeli-Australian activist and CO Zohar Chamberlain Regev, who is the registered owner of the Zaytouna-Oliva, engaged Human Rights lawyer Gabi Lasky to contest the impounding proceedings at the Haifa Court today. In the past, Adv. Lasky and her associates manged to block the impounding of earlier Gaza-bound boats intercepted by the Israeli Navy.

Zohar Chamberlain Regev +34647077426 wbg.freedomflotilla.org/media-room






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