An infamous Israeli legal advocacy group has demanded that Gibraltar sell a recently-seized Iranian oil tanker in order to compensate an American-Israeli family whose daughter was killed in a 2014 attack, reportedly carried out by Hamas.
Shurat HaDin yesterday filed the petition to the Supreme Court in Gibraltar – a British overseas territory located in southern Spain – to demand that the territory sell an Iranian oil tanker it impounded earlier this month.
The tanker – known as Grace 1 – was seized by the UK's Royal Marines on 4 July on suspicion of delivering oil to Syria, in violation of European Union (EU) sanctions. Shipping data reviewed by Reuters at the time reportedly showed that the ship had been loaded with oil off the coast of Iran, despite the fact that the tanker's document claimed the oil came from Iraq.
Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister, Abbas Araqchi, labelled the incident "maritime robbery", telling a press conference that the tanker was not bound for Syria. He did not, however, offer details on its intended destination.
Now Shurat HaDin is trying to use the tanker's apparent Iran-Syria connection to claim compensation for an American-Israeli family whose three-month-old daughter was killed in an apparent hit-and-run in Jerusalem in 2014.
The group claims that, in October of that year, Abdelrahman Shaludi drove a car into pedestrians in the Holy City, killing the baby girl. Shaludi was believed to be the nephew of Mohiyedine Sharif, a prominent member of Hamas who was assassinated in 1998, prompting Israeli media to claim at the time that the attack was carried out by the movement.
In 2017, Shurat HaDin filed a petition in the Washington DC District Court seeking damages from Iran and Syria for the girl's death. The court documents claimed her death was "allegedly perpetrated by Hamas with material support from the defendants [Iran and Syria]", prompting the court to rule they "are jointly and severally liable for the death […] and injuries to the family member plaintiffs". The family were granted $178.5 million in compensation.
Founder of Shurat HaDin, Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, yesterday argued that though the sale of the Iranian tanker would not raise sufficient funds to settle the Washington court's ruling, it could set a precedent which would allow for the seizure of other Iranian assets.
The Gibraltar Supreme Court must now decide if and when to hear the petition.
Shurat HaDin regularly fights court cases on behalf of the Israeli state and Israelis more broadly. Earlier this month, the legal group secured an unprecedented ruling from Israel's Jerusalem District Court which stated that the Palestinian Authority (PA) is "liable" for attacks that occurred during the Second Intifada, the popular Palestinian uprising which took place between 2000 and 2005.
The ruling cited the PA's "financial and practical support" for the attacks, claiming that, along with the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), the authority provided "ideological encouragement" for the incidents. As a result, the PA could be forced to pay damages of up to one billion shekels ($280 million) to those injured in the attacks.
Over the past year alone, Shurat HaDin has also been responsible for pushing holiday rental giant Airbnb to renege on its decision to delist properties located in illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, closing fundraising accounts associated with the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, and intervening to halt an International Criminal Court (ICC) investigation into Israel's 2010 assault on the Mavi Marmara.