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Lawsuit seeks to block Canadian ship in Gaza flotilla

TORONTO (JTA) — A lawsuit filed in Toronto is seeking to block Canadian participation in the second international Freedom Flotilla to Gaza.

Cherna Rosenberg, 68, a citizen of Canada and Israel, filed her lawsuit June 2 in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in Toronto against the Canadian Boat to Gaza and Alternatives International. The complaint charges the groups with raising funds for and providing material support to Hamas, which governs Gaza and was declared a terrorist group by Canada in 2002.

Under Canadian law, it is illegal to help or support "a designated terror group," said Rosenberg’s lawyers, Neil Sher of New York and Ed Morgan of Toronto, in a statement.

Rosenberg, who divides her time between Israel and Canada, is seeking an interim and permanent injunction prohibiting the defendants "from continuing to raise funds, purchasing equipment or supplies, and purchasing or renting a vessel for the purpose of delivering goods or funds to the Gaza Strip."

According to a statement of claim, which outlines a plaintiff’s cause for action, the suit also seeks to block the defendants "from sending goods, funds or any other material support, directly or indirectly, to Hamas or any of its representatives, and/or from aiding and abetting Hamas by assisting in bringing imports and exports to and from the Gaza Strip."

An umbrella group representing about 100 Canadian organizations has unveiled plans to send a Canadian boat, called the Tahrir, to the Gaza Strip as part of the second international Freedom Flotilla.

The flotilla, expected to depart later this month, reportedly will comprise some 15 ships from several countries. It comes a little more than year after Israeli Navy commandoes stormed the Mavi Marmara, the flagship of an international aid flotilla bound for Gaza, killing nine Turkish activists.

"The Canadian boat’s raison d’etre is to aid and abet the terrorist organization that rules Gaza," Sher and Morgan said.

Rosenberg’s lawsuit also seeks $1 million in damages "for trauma and injuries suffered as a consequence of the defendants’ conspiracy" from the time she lived in the Israeli town of Sderot, where she "endured the constant and relentless mortar attacks emanating from Gaza."

"During these terrifying attacks, Ms. Rosenberg was forced to seek shelter, along with members of her family and, like other victims of these wanton attacks, has been traumatized and shocked, suffering from the serious symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder," her lawyers said.

"The allegations of [the defendants'] conspiracy and working with those who in fact perpetrated the shellings … it’s all tied together," Sher told JTA.

There was no immediate comment from organizers of the Canadian Boat to Gaza, which has yet to file a defense of the allegations.

 

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