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Thursday, June 17

Charity will sue Israel in Britain over flotilla massacre
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Mary Nazzal Batayneh, president of the Palestine Legal Aid Fund (PLAF), will be joined by six internationally renowned lawyers.

Dubai: A UK-registered charity on Tuesday said it was planning legal action in Britain on behalf of activists who were detained by Israel after a deadly raid on their Gaza-bound aid flotilla last month.

Mary Nazzal Batayneh, president of the Palestine Legal Aid Fund (PLAF), will be joined by six internationally renowned lawyers.

The team "will launch a court case in the name of the hundreds of activists illegally abducted and imprisoned, many of whom were beaten and wounded and nearly all their belongings confiscated," as well as for the families of the Turkish activists killed, she said.

"A trial should be held in Britain based on the British legal system," Batayneh added.


The Turkish Relief Fund, IHH, will assist in efforts to take legal action in respective national courts and eventually take Israel to the International Criminal Court, an official from the organisation told Gulf News.

Preferring not to be named, she said the group has already been contacted by individuals and organisations in several countries to coordinate legal efforts.

Meanwhile, an Israeli cabinet minister announced on Tuesday that it was examining ways to ease its blockade on Gaza, calling the current policy counter-productive and confirming remarks by Middle East envoy Tony Blair that change was likely.

"It is time to end the closure in its current form. It does not provide any value to Israel. From a diplomatic standpoint it causes great image problems," Welfare Minister Isaac Herzog told Israel Radio.

In Cairo, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak met his Palestinian counterpart Mahmoud Abbas yesterday to discuss the possible easing of the siege.

Both parties, along with Israel are concerned that easing the blockade would embolden Hamas.

"Hamas has remained strong despite the siege and become even stronger following the flotilla attack. Egypt and the Palestinian National Authority must now come to terms with them," Murhaf Jouejati, Political Science Professor at George Washington University told Gulf News.

— Inputs from Abbas Al Lawati/Staff Reporter

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