The administration considers intervening in landmark case against Palestinian terrorists
Obama Plots to Thwart Justice for US Victims of Palestinian Terrorism
By Arnold Ahlert August 5, 2015 | Comments| Print friendly |
On February 23, 2015, a federal jury in New York sided with 10 American families, finding the Palestinian Authority (PA) and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) liable for six terrorist attacks occurring in Israel over a decade ago. The families were awarded $218.5 million for a series of terrorist acts attributed to the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades and Hamas, perpetrated between 2002 and 2004 during the Second Intifada. On Monday, the Obama administration indicated it might intervene in the case‚Äîpossibly on behalf of the Palestinian terrorists.
That’s because the stakes are huge for these two cash-strapped entities. The Antiterrorism Act of 1992 authorizes “any U.S. national injured in his or her person, property, or business by reason of an act of international terrorism to bring a civil action in U.S. district court and recover treble damages and the cost of the suit, including attorney’s fees,” the act states. Thus, the award of $218.5 million could triple to $655.5 million. When interest is included, calculated to be $165 million, which would also be tripled, the total potential liability runs to $1.15 billion. That sum is equal to nearly a third of the Palestinian Authority’s annual budget of operations.
Both groups intend to appeal the verdict, insisting they are not responsible “for the actions of individuals” involved in the carnage. “The Palestinian Liberation Organization [sic] and the Palestinian National Authority are deeply disappointed by the adverse decision issued today in a New York court,” said Mahmoud Khalifa, PA deputy minister of information, after the verdict was announced. “The charges that were made against us are baseless … we will appeal this decision.”
In the meantime, Kent Yalowitz, the families’ attorney, requested that the two organizations place $30 million per month in escrow while the process proceeds. U.S. District Judge George Daniels indicated he was inclined to require Palestinians to post some sort of bond, as a means of showing “some meaningful demonstration that the defendant is ready and willing to pay the judgment.”
PA attorney Mitchell Berge spelled out the implications.