Family of Murdered Teenager Urge U.S. Court To Reject Israeli Attempt To Silence Witness

Daniel Wultz Was Killed in a Tel Aviv Suicide Bombing

By Reuters

Published December 17, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Lawyers for the family of an American teenager killed in a 2006 suicide bombing in Tel Aviv urged a U.S. court on Tuesday to reject an attempt by Israel to muzzle a witness in an anti-terrorism case, court documents showed.

The lawsuit revolves around allegations that Bank of China knowingly allowed Palestinian militants to use its accounts to finance their operations, including the suicide attack that killed 16-year-old Daniel Wultz, and 10 others.

Bank of China denies the allegations.

Wultz’s parents, who live in Florida, hoped that evidence from a former Israeli intelligence officer, Uzi Shaya, who allegedly told Chinese counterparts in 2005 about the suspicious bank transactions, would prove decisive.

After initially helping Wultz’s parents prepare the U.S. lawsuit against China’s fourth largest lender, the Israeli government hit the brakes last month, filing a petition seeking to prevent Shaya from giving testimony.

The documents filed on Tuesday by the Wultz family lawyers and seen by Reuters, call on a U.S. district court in Washington to reject the Israeli petition, accusing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of buckling to pressure from China in the case.

In a Nov. 15 motion, Israel argued that if Shaya testified in the case being brought under U.S. anti-terrorism law, he might reveal state secrets that could harm Israeli security.

The Wultzes dismiss this argument, saying Israel’s government and spy agency Mossad had actively encouraged them to launch the case and handed over copious evidence.

“The complaint was filed only after the GOI (Government of Israel) repeatedly assured my attorneys that it would provide cooperation and support for our allegations,” Daniel’s father, Yekutiel Wultz, said in a written declaration.

“The GOI also identified and voluntarily designated Uzi Shaya as the witness,” he said, adding that Shaya had made clear he was happy to give evidence if allowed to.

CHINESE PRESSURE

In their documents, the Wultzes say they were told in April 2012 by Netanyahu’s office that Shaya would testify.

A year later, the position changed. Israeli media reported that Netanyahu had done a U-turn in order to secure an invitation for an official visit to China in May.

“While we are respectful of China’s interests, and of the diplomatic pressure to which Israel has been subjected, those interests and that pressure cannot be permitted to obstruct the ability of American courts to hear critical evidence,” David Boies, the lead Wultz family lawyer, said in a statement.

Israel has not responded to charges it caved into Chinese pressure. On Tuesday, Netanyahu’s office reiterated a Nov. 16 statement, which said Shaya’s evidence might jeopardise international efforts to tackle terrorism.

The U.S. legal move coincided with the start of a high-profile visit to Israel by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

The 2006 bombing in Tel Aviv came during a Palestinian uprising against Israeli occupation of lands seized in a 1967 war. The Wultzes were in Israel on holiday at the time.

Israeli intelligence agencies set up a unit to try to stop funds from reaching Palestinian militant groups, including the Islamic Jihad, which claimed responsibility for the 2006 blast.

Shaya was part of the unit and travelled to Beijing to urge the Chinese government to shutter suspect accounts.

Israel has until Jan. 6 to file a response to the motion


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Step into the Iron Dome with Tuvia Tenenbom.
  • What do you think of Wonder Woman's new look?
  • "She said that Ruven Barkan, a Conservative rabbi, came into her classroom, closed the door and turned out the lights. He asked the class of fourth graders to lie on the floor and relax their bodies. Then, he asked them to pray for abused children." Read Paul Berger's compelling story about a #Savannah community in turmoil:
  • “Everything around me turns orange, then a second of silence, then a bomb goes off!" First installment of Walid Abuzaid’s account of the war in #Gaza:
  • Is boredom un-Jewish?
  • Let's face it: there's really only one Katz's Delicatessen.
  • "Dear Diaspora Jews, I’m sorry to break it to you, but you can’t have it both ways. You can’t insist that every Jew is intrinsically part of the Israeli state and that Jews are also intrinsically separate from, and therefore not responsible for, the actions of the Israeli state." Do you agree?
  • Are Michelangelo's paintings anti-Semitic? Meet the Jews of the Sistine Chapel: http://jd.fo/i4UDl
  • What does the Israel-Hamas war look like through Haredi eyes?
  • Was Israel really shocked to find there are networks of tunnels under Gaza?
  • “Going to Berlin, I had a sense of something waiting there for me. I was searching for something and felt I could unlock it by walking the streets where my grandfather walked and where my father grew up.”
  • How can 3 contradictory theories of Yiddish co-exist? Share this with Yiddish lovers!
  • "We must answer truthfully: Has a drop of all this bloodshed really helped bring us to a better place?”
  • "There are two roads. We have repeatedly taken the one more traveled, and that has made all the difference." Dahlia Scheindlin looks at the roots of Israel's conflict with Gaza.
  • Shalom, Cooperstown! Cooperstown Jewish mayor Jeff Katz and Jeff Idelson, director of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, work together to oversee induction weekend.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.