The Arab Bank was found guilty by a U.S. jury of aiding and abetting Hamas terror attacks on Americans in Israel and ordered to pay compensation to victims of the attacks, as well as to their families.
The jury reached its decision after only two days of deliberation following a six-week trial in the Brooklyn federal court. Lawyers described this as the first terrorism financing civil case to reach trial in the United States.
Lawsuits which are similar in nature are also pending in the U.S. against the Bank of China, which is accused of providing services to Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and Credit Lyonnais SA, which is accused of aiding Hamas.
Reuters reported today that, back in 2004, almost 300 American citizens who were involved in terror attacks while in Israel sued the Jordanian bank for violating the Anti-Terrorism Act.
Plaintiff Maida Averbach, whose son was paralyzed from the neck down in a 2003 Hamas suicide bombing, and who died in 2010, told reporters, “It has been a long haul, Unfortunately my Steve isn’t here.” Averbach said.
Following the Arab Bank’s appeal on the verdict, Shand Stephens, a lawyer for Arab Bank, predicted that the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals “is going to reverse this,” while a lawyer for the plaintiffs. Mark Werbner said, “When a bank opens its doors to terrorists, they’re going to be held accountable.”
It is no secret that the Arab Bank has been a longtime supporter of terrorism, having maintained bank accounts for Hamas operatives and funneled millions of dollars to them which went towards carrying out gruesome terror attacks on Israeli civilians.
Tab Turner, another lawyer for the plaintiffs, told reporters, “That is how we stop terrorism. You take the money away.”
One juror, Jill Rath, said that reaching the decision of guilty was straightforward as the evidence presented showed “a great deal of knowledge within the bank” that its actively supported Hamas.
It remains to be seen whether or not the Arab Bank’s will succeed in its appeal to reverse the landmark decision made by the court.