On September 18, 2009, a Montreal court dismissed a lawfare case brought by the Bil’in Village Council, with the assistance of the Palestinian NGO “Al Haq” (funded by Netherlands, Ireland, Norway, Sweden [via Diakonia], Ford Foundation, Christian Aid, Norway) and Israeli attorney Michael Sfard. The case was filed in June 2008 against three Canadian corporations involved in construction projects in the town of Kiryat Sefer (Modi’in Ilit). The village council and Al Haq claimed that these corporations were “aiding, abetting, assisting and conspiring with Israel, the Occupying Power in the West Bank, in carrying out an illegal act” and acting in violation of the Geneva Conventions.
The Court found that the plaintiffs had “select[ed] a forum having little connection to the Action in order to inappropriately gain a juridical advantage,” and that there was no basis to plaintiffs’ claim that it was impossible to obtain a remedy in the Israeli court system. It further noted that plaintiffs had relied on judicial statutes that require the consent of the Canadian Attorney General – consent the plaintiffs never obtained. In addition to dismissing the case, the Canadian judge awarded the defendants partial costs (part of the defendant’s legal fees), underlining the particularly frivolous nature of the case.
This dismissal is the latest rejection of Al Haq’s strategy to exploit Western courts for political goals (“lawfare”). Its two suits (2006 and 2009) filed against British government officials to stop weapons sales to Israel were also rejected.