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The litigation between Ship to Gaza and the Israeli government about the seized sailing boat S/Y Estelle has now been successful. Last spring we could announce that Ship to Gaza won the case at supreme court and a financial compensation in the millions was promised.
Jeannette Escanilla, chair of Ship to Gaza Sweden, has written an article together with the activist Dror Feiler criticising the silence of Swedish authorities in the topic. The article was published in Aftonbladet today.
In August 2016 Israeli supreme court established that the hijacking of Estelle lacked legal grounds. Now the Israeli state has to pay a penalty fee to Ship to Gaza Sweden for maltreatment of the ship. The money will be used in the work to end the blockade of the Gaza strip.
Estelle was hijacked in October 2012 on international waters by the Israeli marine. The ship, crew and activists was forced to Israel and threatened to be persecuted prosecution with having tried to enter the country illegally. Three Israeli activists were accused of their efforts to enter the Gaza strip illegally. It was clear that the accusations could not be trialled in court and those arrested who were not Israelis were expelled.
It is positive that justice in this case still is able to intervene injustice of the government and military. Seen in the light of this and other examples of confrontations perhaps one should not be surprised that Benjamin Netanyahu now suggests legislations threatening to undermine the independence of the Israeli justice.
Litigation regarding the fishing boat Marianne which was boarded and hijacked in the summer of 2015 is still unsettled. It will be an important test of the Israeli justice to act independently and securely.
In both cases we question the Swedish foreign ministry and Swedish legal authority. Both cases contains Swedish owned boats with Swedish citizens on board. Marianne had a Swedish flag. In international waters Swedish law prevails and only the flag state or somebody acting with its permission has the right to interact.
Swedish authorities have limited their actions only to formal protests made by lower clerks. In legal processes about seized boats and cargo, hijacking, stolen personal belongings, deportations and assault Swedish authorities have not interfered. Criminal investigation as a result of our notification 2014 has been closed.
But the biggest injustice still is the blockade, now in its tenth year. The latest report from the UN confirms fears about rapidly deteriorating living conditions have hardly been noticed by the world community. This abuse cannot be accepted and may never be normalised.
Dror Feiler activist
Jeannette Escanilla chair of Ship to Gaza Sweden
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