Thursday, July 31, 2008

Gaza Boat Organizers Have Violated the US Neutrality Act

Israeli Civil Rights Center Warns US Attorney General:
Gaza Boat Organizers Have Violated the Neutrality Act

The Israeli civil rights group, Shurat HaDin, has sent an urgent letter to United States Attorney General Michael Mukasey, warning him that the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), and others, have conspired to violate the U.S. Neutrality Act, 18 U.S.C. § 960, in their efforts to organize a boatlift to the Hamas controlled Gaza Strip.

In the letter sent by Shurat HaDin director, Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, it is alleged that the organizers of the "Gaza Ship" illegally solicited and raised donations in California to fund the purchase of several boats which they plan to sail into Gaza on August 5th. The boats are reportedly set to travel from Greece with ISM members on August 1st.

Since the Hamas terrorist organization seized control of the Gaza Strip in June 2007, Israel has initiated a blockade to prevent the smuggling of illegal weapons to the terrorists. The letter expresses concern that the boats will be carrying weapons, explosives and other contraband to Hamas officials.

The Neutrality Act provides that:

"Whoever, within the United States, knowingly begins or sets on foot or provides or prepares a means for or furnishes the money for, or takes part in, any military or naval expedition or enterprise to be carried on from thence against the territory or dominion of any foreign prince or state, or of any colony, district, or people with whom the United States is at peace, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both."

The letter to the Attorney General charges that the ISM has openly solicited and obtained financial support for this hostile operation against Israel in violation of the Neutrality Act and urges the Justice Department and the FBI to launch a full investigation into the funding of the boats and to prosecute those involved.

"For too long the American supporters of Hamas have raised funds in the US to finance their efforts to obstruct Israel's abilities to fight the Palestinian terrorist groups, stated attorney Darshan-Leitner, "We are urging the Attorney General to investigate this blatant violation of the Neutrality Act and prosecute the organizers of the Gaza boat operation who are seeking to illegally smuggle weapons and explosives to Hamas."

For a copy of the letter to the Attorney General and other information please contact attorney Darshan-Leitner:

(US) 212 591 0073