The state has 30 days to explain its decision to close its case against two Israeli Arab community leaders regarding their illegal presence on the Mavi Marmara Gaza blockade-busting ship, the High Court of Justice ruled late Monday.
Both Arab MK Hanin Zoabi and Sheikh Raed Salah, an Islamic fundamentalist leader in the north of Israel, were passengers aboard the Mavi Marmara, one of six Turkish ships that attempted to break an IDF blockade of the Gaza Strip in May 2010.
The court’s ruling was given after MK Michael Ben Ari (National Union) and a right-wing organization demanded an explanation from the Attorney General’s Office as to why it didn’t press charges in the case.
In December 2011 Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein decided to close the case against all the Israelis on board the Turkish flotila, citing problems both legal and with the gathering of evidence in the case.
The petition, presented in court by parliamentary aide and right-wing activist Itamar Ben Gvir, questioned the reasoning behind Weinstein’s decision. Israeli soldiers were beaten, thrown overboard and stabbed in the incident, Ben Gvir said, and asked: “If such actions were done by settlers, would there be trouble finding evidence for prosecution?”
Under the circumstances “we found it necessary for the Attorney General’s Office to further explain the reasons behind the decision,” the judges wrote.
When the IDF forcibly boarded the ship, a violent clash ensued between soldiers and activists and nine Turkish passengers were killed.
The Mavi Marmara incident has been an ongoing issue of contention between Jerusalem and Ankara.