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Today (August 31) an Israeli court issued a verdict in the case by Ship to Gaza Sweden against the Israeli government, regarding the rights to S/V Estelle. The verdict is all in favour of Ship to Gaza’s complaint. It was when Ship to Gaza started the case with a demand to have the Estelle back, that the Israeli state replied with a demand to instead have the ship confiscated. However, the court rejected this, and instead confirmed the organisation’s rights. In addition, the state of Israel will pay the legal expenses.
The S/V Estelle was used in the Freedom Flotilla Coalition action to break the siege of Gaza in 2012. She then sailed 5000 nautical miles from the Baltic Sea to the Eastern Mediterranean, before she was hi-jacked by Israeli forces, some 30 nautical miles outside the coast of Gaza. Since then, the ship as well as its cargo has been kept by the Israeli state. Ship to Gaza’s firm position has been that this is against international as well as Israeli law. Dror Feiler, spokesperson of Ship to Gaza Sweden says: “We are repeating our demand that the ship and its cargo should be returned to us immediately, and that the Israeli state should pay compensation for any damage that may have occurred while the ship has been seized.”