Tzipi Livni
Justice Minister Tzipi Livni (Hatnuah). Photo by AP
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Reuters
A man sits in front of the headquarters of the People's Bank of China, the central bank, in Beijing October 17, 2013. Photo by Reuters

The High Court of Justice ordered Justice Minister Tzipi Livni on Tuesday to justify within a week why she and her ministry are preventing the transfer of documents to a U.S. court in the case accusing the Bank of China of involvement in funding terrorism.

The High Court issued the order in response to a petition regarding the case of Daniel Wultz, a 16-year-old American killed in a suicide bombing in Tel Aviv in 2006, whose family is suing the Bank of China for financing terrorism. The petition -- which was filed by Shurat HaDin - the Israel Law Center, an Israeli based civil rights organization that says it combats terrorist organizations and represents victims of terror -- was filed against Livni and the courts administration.

Supreme Court Justice Elyakim Rubinstein handed down the order to Livni to respond to the petition to provide documents relating to the case. The family’s request was given to the state six months ago, but no official response has been provided yet. The Justice Minister and the courts administration are responsible for responding to requests based on international agreements. Shurat HaDin asked the High Court to force Livni to provide the documents.

The lawsuit in America revolves around allegations that the Bank of China knowingly allowed Palestinian terrorists to use its accounts to finance their operations, including the restaurant suicide attack that killed Wultz, a U.S. citizen, and 10 others. Israeli intelligence said it had information that terror networks of the Islamic Jihad and Hamas, who were indirectly linked to the suicide bomber, had made significant use of bank accounts controlled by Palestinians in China to finance their activities.

The family asked a U.S. federal court to reject Israel’s attempt to prevent a key witness from testifying in a lawsuit against state-owned Bank of China. The lawyers for the family of Daniel Wultz urged the court to require former Israeli intelligence officer Uzi Shaya to testify as a witness in the terrorism financing case, which was initiated by Israel itself, according to court documents. 

The Bank of China denies the allegations.

Wultz’s parents, who live in Florida, hoped that evidence from 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 in November 2013, filing a petition seeking to prevent Shaya from testiifying.

Adding to the high profile nature of the case, Wultz’s mother, Sheryl, is a cousin of U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. The family is suing for compensation of hundreds of millions of dollars.