Quantcast

Jewish Journal

JewishJournal.com

July 16, 2013

Israel backing away from Bank of China terror financing case, roiling U.S. relations

http://www.jewishjournal.com/world/article/israel_backing_away_from_bank_of_china_terror_financing_case_roiling_u.s._r

Bank of China headquarters in Beijing, China. Photo by Yoshi Canopus

Bank of China headquarters in Beijing, China. Photo by Yoshi Canopus

Israel reportedly has backed away from involvement in a terrorism financing lawsuit against the Bank of China brought by the parents of a suicide bombing victim after pushing the family to file the suit.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s decision to keep an Israeli intelligence official from testifying in the case reportedly is roiling relations between his government and the Obama administration. It also has angered one of Israel’s staunchest congressional defenders, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.).

Yedioth Achronot reported Monday that U.S.-Israel tensions over the matter brought Israeli U.S. Ambassador Michael Oren to Jerusalem over the weekend, where he briefed Netanyahu and Oren’s slated successor, Ron Dermer.

According to a June 21 account in The Wall Street Journal, which reported  that Netanyahu was considering pulling back from the case, it was the Israeli government that in 2007 urged Yekutiel and Sheryl Wultz to file suit because of tough U.S. anti-terrorist financing laws.

The Wultzes’ 16-year-old son, Daniel, had been killed the previous year in an Islamic Jihad terrorist attack in Tel Aviv.

Israeli government officials told the Wultzes in 2007 that Israel would provide intelligence in the lawsuit showing that Israel warned China in 2005 that the Bank of China was laundering money for Palestinian terrorist groups and asked it to stop. China paid no heed.

China pressed Netanyahu to keep the intelligence official from testifying in exchange for Netanyahu’s high-profile May visit to China promoting trade between the two nations.

Ros-Lehtinen wrote Netanyahu in June urging him not to succumb to the Chinese pressure, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Notably, The Wultzes are cousins of Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), the Republican majority leader in the U.S. House of Representatives. Cantor in speeches has cited Daniel’s killing and its effect on his extended family.

Oren, Yedioth Achronot reported, told Netanyahu over the weekend that the Obama administration is ready to subpoena the intelligence official if Netanyahu does not make him available, as well as top Israeli officials, including Dermer and Oren.

The embassy declined comment on the case. Ros-Lehtinen’s office did not return requests for comment.

JewishJournal.com is produced by TRIBE Media Corp., a non-profit media company whose mission is to inform, connect and enlighten community
through independent journalism. TRIBE Media produces the 150,000-reader print weekly Jewish Journal in Los Angeles – the largest Jewish print
weekly in the West – and the monthly glossy Tribe magazine (TribeJournal.com). Please support us by clicking here.

© Copyright 2014 Tribe Media Corp.
All rights reserved. JewishJournal.com is hosted by Nexcess.net
Web Design & Development by Hop Studios 0.2847 / 46