Roger L. Simon

Has the Israel Law Center forced a delay of flotilla?

The New York Times is now reporting that Shurat HaDin – the Israel Law Center – has succeeded in delaying the flotilla.

The departure of a pro-Palestinian flotilla of international ships with plans to break the Israeli naval blockade of Gaza has been delayed, in large part due to the efforts of an Israeli advocacy group, both sides said Tuesday.

Greek authorities have held two of the ships docked here in recent days, including an American vessel, after the Israeli advocacy group, Shurat HaDin-Israel Law Center, filed a complaint to the Greek coast guard suggesting that seven of the ships might be lacking insurance or improperly registered.

Ten ships are slated to head toward Gaza this week, in a challenge to Israel’s naval embargo of the Palestinian coastal strip governed by Hamas, the militant group that opposes Israel’s right to exist. All the vessels are insured and have been certified as seaworthy, said Adam Shapiro, a coordinator and spokesman for the flotilla.

Shurat HaDin, which describes itself as a civil rights organization, has additionally contacted about 30 maritime insurance providers to warn that insuring the flotilla boats might leave the companies open to prosecution for aiding a terrorist organization, said Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, the director of the group. There have been reports that several vessels have been unable to join the flotilla because of insurance problems.