Expatriate Wants Gaza Boats Forfeited

WASHINGTON (CN) – A U.S. citizen who lives in Israel, and says he was hurt by Palestinian terrorists in Jerusalem in 2002, seeks forfeiture of the 13 boats that activists are planning to use to break the blockade of the Gaza Strip.

     Alan Bauer, a biologist who lives in Jerusalem, sued the ships in Federal Court, seeking an order to summon all people with interest in the boats to show cause why they shouldn’t forfeit the vessels and their “arms and ammunition and stores”.
     Bauer says the ships are subject to seizure under 18 U.S.C. § 962, as “employed in the service of any foreign prince … to cruise, or commit hostilities against … people with whom the United States is at peace”.
     Israel imposed a maritime blockade on the Gaza Strip after Hamas seized power in 2007 and “began to carry out systematic rocket and missile attacks against civilian targets in Israel, which killed and injured a large number of civilians and caused extensive property damage,” Bauer says in his complaint.
     He adds: “Following the imposition of Israel’s maritime blockade on the Gaza Strip, anti-Israel organizations in the U.S. together with a coalition of violent and/or militant anti-Israel organizations from other countries, initiated and organized efforts to breach Israel’s blockade, to harm Israeli security and to support the Hamas-controlled government in the Gaza Strip, by sending the defendant vessels to the Gaza Strip, and raised funds in the U.S. with which they purchased, equipped, furnished and fitted out the defendant vessels for that purpose.”
     Bauer claims the Free Gaza Movement and the U.S. Boat to Gaza project are trying to undermine the blockade and harm Israel.
     “U.S. Boat to Gaza project has explained that the defendant vessels are being used ‘to break the blockade of Gaza and to end the occupation of Palestine,'” the complaint states.
     Bauer says that under 18 U.S.C. § 962, the defendant vessels are subject to forfeiture, with informer – him – and Uncle Sam each getting half.
     The vessels in question are the Mavi Marmara, the Audacity of Hope, the Rachel Corrie, the Challenger I, the Challenger II (aka the Saoirse), the Gazze, the Tali; the Arion, the Sfendoni (Boat 8000), the Tamara (Eleftheri Mesoghios), the Seven Y Two (Irene), the Finch, the Tahrir and the Stefano Chiriani.
     Bauer wants his half.
     He is represented by Robert Tolchin.

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