3 Americans, Belgian suing Israel in US court over Mavi Marmara raid


(JTA) — Three Americans and a Belgian are suing Israel in U.S. court for injuries sustained when Israeli naval commandos turned back a flotilla attempting to break Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip.

The lawsuit was filed Monday in Washington, the Washington Post reported.

The plaintiffs were aboard the U.S.-flagged Challenger 1, one of the six ships in a May 2010 flotilla that was said to be carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza Palestinians but had a stated goal of breaking the Gaza blockade. According to the suit, the plaintiffs suffered injuries including partial loss of sight from a stun grenade and a broken nose from a rubber bullet.

The Challenger 1 was carrying media equipment and 17 passengers and crew members, according to the Post.

Nine Turks and a Turkish-American were killed on another ship, the Mavi Marmara, during a raid by the commandos.

The plaintiffs are Americans David Schermerhorn and Mary Ann Wright, a retired U.S. diplomat; a dual U.S.-Israeli citizen, Huwaida Arraf, and Belgian national Margriet Deknopper.

In November 2014, the International Criminal Court in The Hague closed a preliminary investigation into possible war crimes committed during the Israeli raid on the flotilla. ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said any cases relating to Israel’s boarding of the ship “would not be of sufficient gravity to justify further action by the ICC,” but in November she was ordered to consider reopening the Mavi Marmara case.

A United Nations panel found the raid was “excessive and unreasonable,” but said Turkey also was at fault.

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