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September 1, 2014 / 6 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Arab Bank’

My Brother’s Sleeper

Sunday, June 22nd, 2014

Here in Israel, as throughout the world, prayers and hopes abound for the safe return of the three teenagers ruthlessly abducted by Palestinian terrorists.  Most governments have condemned the kidnappings and have demanded the return of the boys.

The US has taken a position consistent with that of other nations.  President Obama has not formally addressed the issue of the kidnapping, apparently too busy with improving his golf.  Rather, the White House released a statement of Twitter:

Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of 3 Israeli teens who were kidnapped last week. May they be reunited with their sons soon.

The State Department also put out a statement of its own:

The United States strongly condemns the kidnapping of three Israeli teenagers and calls for their immediate release. Our thoughts and prayers are with their families. We hope for their quick and safe return home.  We continue to offer our full support for Israel in its search for the missing teens, and we have encouraged full cooperation between the Israeli and Palestinian security services.  We understand that cooperation is ongoing.

We are still seeking details on the parties responsible for this despicable terrorist act, although many indications point to Hamas’ involvement.  As we gather this information, we reiterate our position that Hamas is a terrorist organization known for its attacks on innocent civilians and which has used kidnapping in the past.

So what’s missing here?  The obvious point is that one of the “three Israeli teenagers” happens to be an American citizen.  Why are the highest bodies in the U.S. government ignoring the fact that one of their own fellow citizens has been kidnapped, apparently by a U.S.-designated terror organization?  Why does the U.S. simply call the kidnapped boys a bunch of Israeli teens, when one is a full-fledged, passport-toting American citizen?  If President Obama were to be injured here, would the State Department decry the injuries suffered to “a tourist visiting Israel”?  Would they not state that the man in question was an American citizen and thus worthy of American help and concern?

I have written previously about the lack of US prosecutions of the dozens of Palestinian terrorists who wounded and killed scores of American citizens during the Second Intifada (see here and here).  The U.S. has treated American terror victims, even those who were briefly visiting Israel or studying overseas for a year, or even contractors hired by the U.S. government itself, as somehow being “sabra” Israelis who deserve sympathy but not much more. President Obama recently made a statement after the U.S. successfully captured the apparent mastermind of the Benghazi attack:

White House and Pentagon officials publicly confirmed the capture late Tuesday morning. At an event in Pittsburgh, President Obama also said the capture is a “message to the world” about what happens when Americans are attacked. “No matter how long it takes, we will find those responsible and we will bring them to justice,” Obama said. In a written statement, the president thanked the “painstaking efforts of our military, law enforcement and intelligence personnel,” and said the suspect would “now face the full weight of the American justice system.”

After President Obama made his statement, I took the liberty of asking the director of the Department of Justice Office for Justice for Victims of Overseas Terrorism whether the President’s words applied to cases of American citizens harmed by Palestinian terrorists.  She never wrote back, though it was the large number of Americans killed and wounded here that led to the creation of her very office in 2005.  Her lack of response was no surprise, as the U.S. has generally seen terror victims as a burden.

Blaming the Victim

Friday, May 2nd, 2014

We live in an extraordinary time.

Catherine Ashton, the EU’s highest ranking foreign policy official, blessed the proposed joining of Hamas and Fatah.  The US and the EU transfer millions of dollars to the Palestinian Authority which gives these same monies into the pockets of incarcerated Palestinian terrorists. Many of those same terrorists – who committed heinous crimes, admitted to those crimes, and take great pride in their actions – are called heroes and are released by Israel by the bushel.  So it should come as no surprise that we have reached a new low in the fight against terror:  blame the victim.

Lord Norman Lamont, a former British Chancellor of the Exchequer, has written yesterday in the NY Post  that pending litigation against Arab Bank, the largest financial institution in the Middle East, is all about making lawyers rich and not bringing justice to terror victim families.  In his words:

Can American trial lawyers use US courts to legally blackmail foreign banks? The US Solicitor General — to whom the Supreme Court has turned for advice — is now considering whether the justices should hear a case (Arab Bank v. Linde) about just that.

In 2004, American trial lawyers sued one of the Middle East’s oldest financial institutions,  the Jordan-based Arab Bank, on behalf of US victims of terror attacks within Israel and their families.

The civil suit claims the bank knowingly did business with terrorists and terror-linked charities, becoming a conduit for funds financing terrorist strikes. The charge is unlikely, to put it mildly. Arab Bank has a long history of working with Israel. After the signing of the Oslo Accords, Israel used the bank to transfer tax revenues it had collected for the Palestinian Authority. During the intifada, it depended on the bank to act as a financial intermediary for western aid to the territories.

Lord Lamont apparently was not fully briefed about the case against Arab Bank.

The Bank has been forced to admit that it serviced accounts of terror-associated organizations marked as such by the US government.  They could not explain away the existence of the accounts, the association between these accounts and US-designated terror groups, or the Bank’s providing financial services for those same accounts.

The bank’s New York branch was shut down by the US Treasury and Arab Bank paid a $24 million fine for its “systematic” failures to follow US anti-money laundering procedures.

The bank’s role in serving terrorists was identified when the lead lawyer in the first lawsuit against the bank identified online Saudi appeals for deposits into Palestinian “martyr” accounts held and serviced by Arab Bank.

The bank’s only claim is that it was unaware that it was helping terrorists.

Yasser Arafat also had a history of “working with Israel.” This fact did not stand in the way of his documented active involvement in incitement and terror against Jewish targets.

As a terror victim represented in the Linde v. Arab Bank litigation, I can only praise the conduct of the lawyers on our case.  They have worked for ten years against powerful law firms representing the bank, and they have never taken a penny from us for their thousands of hours of travel, court appearances, depositions, and research.

And that research has shown a pattern of servicing accounts associated with Palestinian terror organizations. It would not be a stretch to say that the Second Intifada—with over 1,100 Israelis killed—would have been impossible without some form of financial infrastructure for supporting guerrilla war against Israel and its citizens.

The bank was sanctioned by Judge Nina Gershon after repeatedly failing to provide critical documents related to the bank’s actions in facilitating the movement of funds in bank accounts identified by our lawyers.  Hiding Palestinian Authority bank secrecy laws did not cut it with Judge Gershon or with the Second Circuit Court of Appeals which ruled 3-0 to keep the sanctions in place.  And it would appear that the author of this calumnious article is directing it solely at the Solicitor General, who is charged with informing the Supreme Court on the government’s view of the sanctions in the case.

US Government Divided Over Lawsuit Against Bank for Funding Terror

Thursday, April 24th, 2014

The Jerusalem Post has a report earlier this week ["US Solicitor General to tell Supreme Court stance on Arab Bank terror financing case"] authored by Yonah Jeremy Bob, focusing on a massive private law action in which multiple plaintiffs are suing for civil damages the Kingdom of Jordan’s largest commercial enterprise, Arab Bank. It’s a cluster of cases that has been working its way through the US court system for a decade. The New York Times recently called it “a multibillion-dollar lawsuit [that] has provoked a significant split in the Obama administration“.

What attracted Bob’s attention is the prospect of the US Solicitor General filing an opinion with the US Supreme Court in the next few weeks, stating the US government’s position on the case, and in effect

refereeing a dispute between the US State Department on one side, and the US Justice and Treasury Departments on the other side, of how to handle the case. The case itself, which has been featured on CBS News’s Sunday Morning program, involves allegations that Arab Bank facilitated massive transfer of funds to Hamas leaders and institutions… The plaintiffs allege that Arab Bank knew that the funds related to terrorists and terror groups, and is thus, civilly liable for wrongful death damages resulting from terror attacks perpetrated using the transferred funds. [Jerusalem Post]

The court asked the US government to say how it views a ruling by the trial court that imposed penalties on Arab Bank for non-production of certain documents. Arab Bank, the defendant in these actions, has claimed it is unable to comply with court orders to produce those documents because of bank secrecy laws in certain Arab states. Arab Bank wants the US Supreme Court to reverse the ruling.

The JPost article says the Departments of Justice and the Treasury have supported the trial court’s tough line with Arab Bank on the non-production issue. They want the US Supreme Court to stay out of the case. The State Department is said to want the court to intervene on Arab Bank’s behalf for foreign policy reasons.

The Government of Jordan itself has taken the unusual step of filing its own legal brief in the case in support of the bank’s defense and in support of the US Supreme Court interceding on the bank’s behalf. Jordan’s brief cited alleged disastrous consequences to the whole country, citing statistics that the bank accounts for as high as one-third of Jordan’s stock exchange and 15% of all pension funds, if the bank is hit with a damages award which could be in the billions of dollars. Jordan also said that the Palestinian Authority could collapse as Arab Bank is one of the few institutions providing financial services in the Palestinian areas. It also implied that a major blow to Arab Bank could undermine Jordanian cooperation in the fight against terror, in the use of Jordan for a base of some military operations and in Jordan’s ability to be a stabilizing factor regarding the Syrian civil war.  [Jerusalem Post today]

The article says a letter has been sent to President Barack Obama on behalf of the plaintiffs decrying the notion that

any part of the United States government could possibly line up against US victims of terror and instead support an institution” accused of transferring funds to terrorists. The plaintiffs’ letter to Obama also said that “siding with Arab Bank now would not only be a slap in the face of every American terror victim” but it would also “set a poisonous precedent” and “shield terrorists’ financial information” from the US courts… [Jerusalem Post]

Jonathan Tobin, writing in Commentary Magazine earlier this month, fiercely criticizes what he describes as the State Department position:

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/this-ongoing-war/us-government-divided-over-lawsuit-against-bank-for-funding-terror/2014/04/24/

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