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Huwaida Araf, the Palestinian woman who was an organizer of last year's flotilla
photo by Rhonda Spivak

 
Canadian in Sderot LAUNCHES $1,000,000 LAWSUIT AGAINST Two Canadian GROUPS WHO BACK Canada Boat on Flotilla For Aiding Hamas

Sderot Rocket Victim Sues For 1 Million Dollars in Ontario Court-If claim is Sucessful Others Will Follow

by Rhonda Spivak, June 10 2011

Cherna Rosenberg, a Sderot resident and Canadian citizen has filed a million dollar law suit  against two Canadian organizations who are raising money  to  sponsor the Canadian  Boat to Gaza, which is set to join the international flotilla to Gaza later this month. Rosenberg is a dual citizen who  divides her time between Sderot and Ontario.

The lawsuit suit  issued by Toronto barrister and law professor Ed Morgan and New York attorney and former AIPAC executive director Neal Sher to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice on June 6, 2011, claims that  the groups, Turtle Island Humanitarian Aid ( "Canada Boat") and Alternatives International, are part of a chain of conduct that “ultimately leads to the rocket attacks that have traumatized the plaintiff and caused her much suffering and loss.” Both groups are based in Montreal,

The statement of claim filed on behalf of Rosenberg asserts that, “The Canadian Boat’s raison d’être is to aid and abet the terrorist organization that rules Gaza.”

As such, according to the Rosenberg's lawsuit , the actions of these two Canadian organizations are in violation of Canadian laws forbidding assistance to terror groups.

Under section 83.08(1) of the Criminal Code it is an offence for anyone in Canada to:

(a) deal directly or indirectly in any property that is owned or controlled by or on behalf of a terrorist group;

(b) enter into or facilitate, directly or indirectly, any transaction in respect of property referred to in paragraph (a); or

(c) provide any financial or other related services in respect of property referred to in paragraph (a) to, for the benefit of or at the direction of a terrorist group.

The  claim  asserts that the organization " Canada Boat" has been responsible for organizing and administering the efforts of this project  while the  Alternatives International has been responsible for raising, administering, and providing trustee services for the funds for the project. 

“Ms. Rosenberg has lived in Sderot Israel and endured the constant and relentless mortar attacks emanating from Gaza. The Hamas terror group brazenly has taken responsibility for these shellings. 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,” reads the statement of claim.

The claim takes the position that that since supplies that are delivered to Gaza run the risk of being seized by the Hamas government for use by its military wing, the defendants’ acts “amount to both a conspiracy to injure and a conspiracy to use unlawful means,” and that “the defendants are acting in concert with Hamas to achieve harm on the plaintiff [Rosenberg].”

The lawsuit details how Sderot has been the target of Kassam rocket attacks from Hamas terrorists inside Gaza since 2001, resulting in the deaths of numerous Israeli civilians and causing enormous trauma and property damage in Sderot and the surrounding region.

Rosenberg’s lawyers are asking the court to order the groups to pay damages in the amount of $1,000,000 for trauma and injury, $20,000 in renovation and relocation costs, as well as an injunction prohibiting the groups to raise money for the flotilla and to send goods to Gaza

The success or failure of Rosenberg's claim  will also set a precedent for a wave of similar claims by other dual citizens.

David Matas,an expert in international law, and honourary senior counsel for  B'nai Brith Canada gave the following assessment to the Winnipeg Jewish Revie wof  Rosenberg's lawsuit:

" The court should have jurisdiction since both the plaintiff and the defendants are Canadian and the alleged wrong commences in Canada.  The issue on the merits is  causation, which is factual.  The plaintiff [Rosenberg] pleads a connection between the flotilla and rocket attacks on Sderot.  The question then becomes whether the she can establish this connection in court.  That is an evidentiary issue.
 
"This is a tort and not a criminal law case.  The result will be damages or an injunction if Rosenberg [the plaintiff ]succeeds, not a criminal conviction.  The criminal law is relevant only as establishing a wrong. However, there is no doubt that shooting rockets into Sderot is wrongful, even independently of the Criminal Code.
 
"I wonder why the Government of Canada is allowing the [Canada Boat] flotiilla to depart.  It strikes me that the flotilla is violating the Criminal Code provosions cited in the article.  The Government should be enforcing these provisions of the Criminal Code.  The matter should not be left to private individuals."


If  Rosenberg's lawsuit is successful, it will provide a further setback to the Free Gaza Flotilla project, which is already suffering from a number of  financial and logistic woes.

In an effort to prevent the upcoming flotilla into Gaza, the Shurat HaDin Law Center in Israel has threatened lawsuits against companies offering  insurance and satellite services to the participating ships, which are pre-conditions for them being able to sail.

In letters to maritime insurance firms and satellite communications companies, Shurat HaDin, an independent non-profit organization, has warned that any companies that provide services that assist in the breach of the Israeli blockade on Gaza will be sued in the United States for aiding the Hamas terrorist organization.

“There is no need for Israeli soldiers to repel down ropes in order to stop the next flotilla – all that’s needed is some courage and original thinking,” said Shurat HaDin’s Director Nitsana Darshan-Leitner told the Jerusalem Post.

Darshan-Leitner has asked  the mobile satellite services company Inmarsat  ( the only company that provides communications and navigations services to ships that sail in the region) to refuse to provide their services to ships participating in the flotilla.

“We informed them that if they do so, they will be in violation of the American Neutrality Act, which prohibits aiding a group in their struggle against the military of an ally country,” said Darshan-Leitner to the Jerusalem Post. “Since Imarsat has offices in the US, the law binds them.”

To read the complete statment of Rosenberg's claim filed in th eOntario court, go to http://www.hudson-ny.org/documents/rosenberg_complaint.pdf

 
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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.


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