Friday, February 20, 2015

  • Friday, February 20, 2015
  • Elder of Ziyon

From Bloomberg:
The Palestinian Authority and the Palestine Liberation Organization should pay a group of terrorism victims more than $350 million in damages, an amount that would be tripled to more than $1 billion, their lawyer told a U.S. jury at the end of a five-week trial.

The two organizations aided six bombing and shooting attacks on U.S. citizens in Israel from 2002 and 2004 by providing money, explosives, training and personnel, a lawyer for 10 families said in his closing argument to Manhattan federal jurors Thursday. He argued they’re liable under the U.S. Anti-Terrorism Act, which provides for triple damages.

“Money is oxygen for terrorists,” Kent Yalowitz told jurors in the case, which was filed in 2004. “Take away their money by making them pay their fair share for what they did.”

Family members who were in the courtroom wept quietly as Yalowitz detailed the physical and emotional injuries suffered by victims of the attacks, which killed a total of 33 and wounded more than 450. At least one juror wiped away tears while listening.

Yalowitz told jurors that Palestinian Authority officials sanctioned terrorist attacks and promoted officers who carried them out, often posthumously. Funds were also provided to jailed terrorists and to the families of suicide bombers, he said.
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The Palestinian groups claimed they aren’t responsible for the unapproved acts of low-level employees. They denied that senior officials, including Yasser Arafat, the deceased PLO chairman, aided the terrorist organizations Hamas and the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades in carrying out attacks.
The PA is very nervous:
Palestinian officials are nervously watching a landmark terrorism trial in the United States, brought by victims of Palestinian suicide bombings and shootings aimed at civilians. They fear a negative verdict could hurt their international image at a time when they are preparing to press war crimes charges against Israel.

Although the cases are not directly linked, a ruling against the Palestinian Authority in New York federal court threatens to undermine Palestinian efforts to rally international support for a brewing battle at the International Criminal Court in The Hague. With American plaintiffs seeking billions of dollars in damages, it could also deliver a tough financial blow to the cash-strapped Palestinian Authority, which administers parts of the West Bank.

The Palestinian Authority refused to comment on the lawsuit. But several senior Palestinian officials said the case is being closely watched in Ramallah and acknowledged they are worried about the outcome. The officials spoke anonymously on the advice of their lawyers.
Courthouse News mentions one of the pieces of PLO evidence:
The U.S. government's PLO Compliance Report, known as PLOCCA, stopped short of drawing a firm link between Arafat's organizations and the attacks.

"There is no conclusive evidence that the senior leaderships of the Palestinian Authority and Palestinian Liberation Organization were involved in planning or approving specific acts of violence," the report said.
Bit for a lawsuit, you don't need conclusive evidence, only a preponderance of evidence. And that same 2003 report provides it:
In fact, there is strong evidence that. some members of the PA security forces were allowed to continue serving even though their participation in terrorist incidents was well known. ...Moreover, some senior PLO and PA leaders did little to prevent - and in some cases encouraged - acts of violence and an atmosphere of incitement to violence in the Palestinian media and through the public statements of Palestinian officials....[T]hey failed consistently to condemn attacks on Israeli settlers and soldiers in the occupied territories. This omission amounted to tacit support for such attacks. For example, one high-ranking PA official referred to suicide bombing as "the highest. form of national struggle" in an interview with the al-Jazeera television station. The PA subsequently took no action to discipline the individual or to repudiate his statement. According to the Israeli press, the PA Interior Minister publicly said that while the PA opposed killing civilians it "is not against military operations." The Minister went on to say that settlers should not be considered civilians.

The last PLOCCA report discussed direct payments from the PA to Fatah party activists, some of whom were deeply involved in the ongoing violence. We believe such payments continued during this reporting period.


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