The state cannot confiscate the Estelle, the Swedish Ship used in a 2012 flotilla aimed at breaking Israel’s blockade of Gaza, the Supreme Court ruled on Sunday.
At the same time, the three justices – Supreme Court President Miriam Naor, Hanan Melcer and Salim Joubran – left some opening for future state efforts to try reinstating its confiscation policy.
The decision is a major blow to one of the state’s broader strategies used to discourage foreigners from organizing flotillas to break its Gaza blockade.
That strategy placed flotilla participants at the same risk of large monetary losses as those of other sea vessels and cargo.
The justification for confiscating the Estelle and other boats is embodied by England’s Naval Prize Act of 1864, often referred to as the international law of the sea.