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President Bush And The Holy Land Foundation

When President Bush, in the company of Treasury Secretary O'Neill and Attorney General Ashcroft, announced publicly on December 4 that the United States would be seizing the assets of the Holy Land Foundation of Richardson, Texas, because its money was being used to support the Hamas terror organization, the President was endorsing the lawsuit brought in May 2000 against the Holy Land Foundation by the parents of David Boim, a 17-year-old yeshiva student who was killed in a drive-by shooting by Hamas terrorists in May 1996. The Boims' lawyers are Nathan Lewin and his daughter Alyza Lewin, and their lawsuit against the Moslem charity that collects over $13 million a year in mosques around the country is the first one brought under a 1992 anti-terrorist law that gives American citizens who are victims of international terrorism the right to sue in American courts.

The Holy Land Foundation claims that it is only sending money to widows and orphans ? who happen to be the widows and orphans of Hamas' suicide bombers. When he argued the case on September 24 before a federal court of appeals, Mr. Lewin, an internationally renowned litigator, reminded the court that terrorism comes in many unexpected forms. Who would have thought, before September 11, that flight training could be used to perform murderous terrorist acts? And he observed that Hamas boasts that it begins to indoctrinate its suicide bombers when they are in kindergarten. Educating these children in this manner is breeding terrorism.

The Holy Land Foundation argued in the Court of Appeals that only the individuals who personally shot David Boim should be suable in an American court and not those who finance the organization that trained and equipped them. The court asked the United States to file a friend-of-the-court brief, and the Department of Justice submitted a ringing support of the Boim's claim that anyone financing Hamas is an ''aider and abettor'' to David Boim's murder who should be forced to pay damages.

The President's recent action goes well beyond that brief. It puts any charitably-minded Moslem on notice that his contribution will be seized by the United States if the organization to which he gives supports terror. And the Boims' lawsuit ? which will hopefully succeed in bankrupting the Hamas-front ''charities'' in the United States ? will also be a warning to individual contributors that they may be sued by the victims of terror.

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