A Manhattan federal jury has ordered the Palestinian Authority and the Palestinian Liberation Organization to pay $218.5 in damages for acts of terrorism in Israel that injured or killed Americans.
Under a U.S. anti-terrorism law, the jury verdict is automatically tripled (or “trebled” in legalese), which makes the total liability owed by the two organizations $655.5 million.
The case was originally filed in 2004 by 10 American families who lost loved ones or who were themselves harmed in six specific Palestinian terrorist attacks in Israel, including a suicide bombing on a bus in Jerusalem.
“After less than two days of deliberations, the 12-member jury decided the Palestinian Authority and the PLO knowingly helped facilitate a wave of deadly shootings and bombings in Israel in the early 2000s, which killed 33 people and wounded more than 400 others,” the Wall Street Journal explained.
“The trial, which began in mid-January, was emotional at times, especially during testimony from the victims and their families, when they vividly described the mental and physical injuries they sustained.”
The PA and PLO plan to appeal the jury findings which they characterized as deeply disappointing and baseless. At trial, both organizations claimed that they played no role in what they suggested were lone-wolf attacks that prompted the lawsuit.
“But citing testimony, payroll records and other documents, the plaintiffs showed that many of those involved in the planning and carrying out of the attacks had been employees of the Palestinian Authority, and that the authority had paid salaries to terrorists imprisoned in Israel and had made martyr payments to the families of suicide bombers,” the New York Times reported.
Collecting on the judgment could be difficult, especially since the defendants are said to be financially unstable, despite receiving millions in aid from the international community. The plaintiffs’ lawyers indicated that both groups have assets here and abroad that can be seized to satisfy the judgment.
According to Newsbusters, for whatever reason, ABC World News Tonight, CBS Evening News, and NBC Nightly News provided zero coverage of the historic Monday court decision that held the PA and the PLO liable for the Israel terrorist attacks.
“It’s about accountability, it’s about justice… there’s nothing that can bring the loved ones back. Money has to stand in for other things because that’s the only power this jury had. The jury sent a very clear message that those who commit terror against Americans will held accountable in a United States court of law,” a lawyer for the families declared.
[image credit: Tori Rector]