Lawyers for the family of Daniel Wultz, a 16-year-old American killed in a suicide bombing in Israel in 2006, asked a U.S. federal court on Tuesday to reject Israel’s attempt to prevent a key witness – former Israeli intelligence officer Uzi Shaya – from testifying in a terrorism financing lawsuit against state-owned Bank of China (BOC) that the Government of Israel (GOI) itself started.
I’ve attached the brief filed by lead lawyers David Boies and Lee Wolosky of Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, along with supporting exhibits. I’ve also attached declarations from Daniel’s parents, Sheryl and Yekutiel (Tuly) Wultz, about their personal communications with senior Israeli government and intelligence officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, former Mossad chief Meir Dagan, former National Security Adviser Yaacov Amidror and Shaya himself.
Declaration of Sheryl Cantor Wultz
Respondents’ (the Wultz Family) Opposition to the State of Israel’s Motion to Quash
Declaration of Yekutiel Wultz
The documents disclose in greater detail than at any time to date how the GOI encouraged the Wultz family and their legal counsel to bring a lawsuit against BOC in the courts of the United States, and provided to them the information necessary to do so. It did so in line with a national policy championed and implemented by the Office of the Prime Minister and the Mossad intelligence service to combat terrorist financing by providing information to victims of attacks to enable them to bring civil lawsuits against entities that support terrorism.
Israel provided to the Wultzes and their lawyers critical evidence, including bank account numbers and details about how money was being laundered for Palestinian terrorists through Bank of China. Most importantly, the GOI disclosed the content of discussions between Israeli officials and officials of the People’s Republic of China, to enable the Wultzes and their lawyers to commence a lawsuit in U.S. courts under powerful U.S. anti-terrorism laws available only to U.S. citizens.
Israel also offered Shaya as a witness who would testify at trial about Israeli warnings to China that BOC accounts were being used to fund attacks on civilians in Israel. Israel repeatedly promised that Shaya would testify, including through a personal phone call from the Office of Prime Minister Netanyahu to the Wultzes’ home in Florida in April 2012.
Further to those commitments, and as described in detail in today’s filings, the GOI actively participated in preparing Shaya to be deposed, including by arranging a face-to-face meeting between Tuly Wultz and Shaya, directing Shaya to review government files, instructing Shaya to meet with senior government lawyers, and preparing a letter that set the GOI’s ground rules for Shaya’s testimony.
Then, earlier this year, Israel suddenly reneged on its pledge concerning Shaya’s testimony. This about-face followed massive pressure by the Chinese government on the GOI, and particularly on Israel’s Prime Minister, to bury evidence of alleged wrongdoing. The deal allowed Prime Minister Netanyahu to visit China in May with his wife, their children and a large entourage for five days of “sightseeing and meetings” during which they were “treated like royalty”.
“The State of Israel should not be allowed to sabotage a case, which it set in motion in the courts of the United States to advance its own national agenda, by using the expansive pretense of national security – an interest that it has never previously raised during the five-year pendency of this lawsuit, or in any similar case,” the brief filed today says. It asks the Court to deny a petition Israel filed on November 15 seeking to quash a subpoena served on Shaya that compels him to testify in the U.S. proceedings Israel started.
Shaya, who is now retired, is expected to testify that he was a key participant in meetings in China that started in April 2005, when the Israelis asked Chinese officials to close BOC dollar accounts that were being used to route funds to Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, both of which are subject to U.S. and other sanctions as designated terrorist groups, and that the Israelis were later told that BOC would not close the accounts. A year later, in April 2006, Palestinian Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing at a Tel Aviv restaurant that killed 11 people, including Daniel Wultz.
Please let me know if you need any further information about today’s filings or the case in general.