Palestinians to Appeal Guilty Verdict in Terrorism Lawsuit

The PA and PLO will appeal a Manhattan court verdict that found them guilty of providing material support to terrorists and awarded the victims $218.5 million.

The Palestinian Authority and Palestine Liberation Organization will appeal a court verdict that found them guilty of providing material support for terrorism. A Manhattan jury awarded $218.5 million in damages to the members of 10 American families who were injured or lost relatives in six terrorist attacks in Jerusalem from 2002 to 2004. That sum will be tripled to $655.5 million under a 1992 US anti-terrorism law.

The lawsuit was originally filed in 2004 under the Antiterrorism Act of 1990, which allows US citizens to sue in federal courts for terrorist attacks committed abroad. Its verdict hinged on whether the terrorists were acting as individuals or in their capacity as employees of the PA. The plaintiffs used testimony and payroll records to demonstrate that the PA had continued to pay salaries to its employees who were arrested by Israel for terrorism and made martyr payments to the families of suicide bombers.

“If you have a policy that says: ‘If you commit a terrorist act, you keep your job, get a promotion, and get paid while you’re in jail,’ that says something about who you are and what you believe in,” said the attorney for the plaintiffs, Kent Yalowitz, in his closing remarks, as reported by the Jerusalem Post.

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman celebrated the verdict in an official statement, saying, “The court’s decision confirms what those familiar with events in Israel in the first decade of this century knew, but what many in the world did not wish to admit, whether out of hypocrisy, extraneous interests, or pure antisemitism. This decision by the federal court must be a wake-up call for the Palestinians themselves and those in the world who support them, to recognize that terrorism is an integral part of the structure of the Palestinian Authority. In order to deal with it, they must first of all internalize the fact that the Palestinians’ glorification of terror and terrorists must be uprooted through re-education, and this responsibility falls on the Palestinian leaders.”

“We will appeal this decision,” said Dr. Mahmoud Khalifa, Deputy Minister of Information for the PA, in a statement. “We are confident that we will prevail, as we have faith in the U.S. legal system and are certain about our common sense belief and our strong legal standing.”

“This case is just the latest attempt by hard-line antipeace factions in Israel to use and abuse the U.S. legal system to advance their narrow political and ideological agenda.”

Ghassan Shakaa, chairman of the PLO’s Department of International Affairs, also condemned the verdict, saying, “This is not a verdict based on legal grounds. It is a politically biased verdict based on bias and siding towards Israel.”

Legal experts predict that it will be difficult to collect the damages awarded, which are automatically tripled by the law to over $655 million. Nonetheless, the plaintiffs are optimistic that PA and PLO assets in the US could be frozen in order to ensure the verdict is enforced.

This is the second successful lawsuit under the Antiterrorism Act. Five months ago, a Brooklyn jury found Arab Bank PLC, the largest bank in Jordan, responsible for supporting terrorism by Hamas.

By: Atara Beck, World Israel News