The Israeli High Court of Justice ordered the Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein on Tuesday to publish the state’s reasons why a member of parliament and a political activist were not prosecuted for participating in the May 2010 flotilla to Gaza.
The decision came after the hearing of a petition filed against Haneen Zoabi, an Arab MP, and Sheikh Raed Salah, the leader of the Islamic Movement in Israel. Both Zoabi and Salah were aboard the Mavi Marmara, a ship that formed part of a flotilla that aimed to break Israel’s blockade and bring aid to Gaza, United Press International reported.
The petitioners hoped to get the state to reopen the closed case and treated the court’s decision as a victory. The Attorney General now has 30 days to produce a more detailed report as to why the two were not prosecuted.
However, the court gave only general guidelines as to what needed to be revealed, depending on what is considered classified, and left the option open for the Attorney General to present his report to a closed court.
The petitioners had argued that there was a public interest in the state providing a full explanation for their decision, particularly as there were precedents in which the mere presence of a person at a public disturbance was enough to prosecute them.
The state had argued against disclosing the information, saying to do so might expose details of flotilla operations, making it difficult to handle future flotillas or giving flotilla participants an insight into how to avoid prosecution.
Adalah, the legal centre for Arab minority rights in Israel, was for once on the same side as the Attorney General. A lawyer for Adalah, Hassan Jabareen, said people knew why the case was closed; because Zoabi and Salah had nothing to do with the attacks on Israeli Defence Force soldiers that allegedly took place on the Mavi Marmara, the Jerusalem post reported.