French activists file charges against Israel


PARIS (JTA) — Two French activists aboard the Gaza-bound flotilla intercepted by Israel’s Navy have filed legal complaints against Israel.

The complainants charge Israel with “abduction,” “sequestration,” “violence with weapons” and “rerouting a vessel” in international waters, their lawyer, Liliane Glock, said last Friday. The cases were filed in the two activists’ hometowns of Marseille and Evry, south of Paris.

Glock is a lawyer for the Committee for Charity and Support for the Palestinians (CBSP), which in 2003 was listed as a terrorist fund-raising group by the United States. Ten French citizens, mostly from the CBSP, participated in the May 31 attempt to break through Israel’s Gaza blockade.

Glock told French journalists that filing in French courts would send a “politically significant” message and test France’s willingness to uncover what led to the deaths of nine pro-Palestinian militants on board last week’s Gaza-bound flotilla.

Once a complaint is filed, French judges can decide whether or not to seek arbitration from the International Criminal Court, she said. 

“We’ll see whether France’s display of its willingness to shed light on the assault is real or not," Glock said. "[France] cannot remain inactive while several of its citizens experienced a traumatic incident. It has to do something.”

Several thousand protesters marched Saturday through French cities to denounce Israel for its takeover of the Gaza fleet. French police counted protesters ranging from 5,000 in Paris, and 2,000 in Nice and Mulhouse, to some 300 in Toulouse, according to the French news agency AFP.

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