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December 6, 2016 / 6 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘jurisdiction’

US 2nd Circuit Appeals Court Reverses Anti-Terror Verdict Against Palestinian Authority, PLO

Wednesday, August 31st, 2016

The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan has overturned a landmark $655 million verdict made in February 2016 against the Palestinian Authority and Palestine Liberation Organization, in favor of victims of terror and their loved ones.

The federal appeals court reversed the decision this Wednesday (August 31, 2016), finding that United States courts had no jurisdiction in the case in the first place due to the limited contacts of the PA/PLO groups with the U.S. and Supreme Court.

The three-judge panel did not question the terror under which the plaintiffs had brought the lawsuit, nor did they deny the moral right of the claim.

“The terror machine gun attacks and suicide bombings that triggered this suit and victimized these plaintiffs were unquestionably horrific,” the judges said in the brief. “But the federal courts cannot exercise jurisdiction in a civil case beyond the limits prescribed by the due process clause of the Constitution, no matter how horrendous the underlying attacks or morally compelling the plaintiffs’ claims.”

On April 24, the U.S. district court imposed a $10 million bond on the defendants during their appeal of the February verdict. They were also to make $1 million monthly payments during the duration of that appeal process.

Judge George Daniels presided over Sokolow v. PLO in the U.S. District Court in the Southern District Court of New York, accepting a recommendation made by the defendants and by the U.S. government, which intervened in the case earlier this summer. The government claimed that a standard bond amount would bankrupt the Palestinian Arab organizations.

Attorneys for the plaintiffs, who included the Israeli law firm Shurat HaDin, had requested a $30 million monthly bond be paid into an account until the case is resolved, arguing there was plenty of evidence that Arab coffers are in no danger of collapse.

After the appeal was upheld and the February verdict was overturned, attorneys for the plaintiffs contended that the decision contradicted the spirit of the Anti-Terror Act under which the lawsuit had been filed, and which had been passed following the terrorist murder of Leon Klinghoffer in 1985.

Attorney Kent Yalowitz said in a statement, “The very terrorists who prompted the law have now hidden behind the U.S. Constitution to avoid responsibility for their crimes.”

He added that the plaintiffs may consider requesting a review by the full Second Circuit or possibly file an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

“This cruel decision must be corrected so that these families may receive justice,” he said. “No one denies — as the federal jury has found — that the Palestinians carried out these attacks and killed and injured these American citizens, who will not give up seeking justice from the courts.”

He also called for intervention by Congress and the State Department.

Attorney Gassan Baloul, representing the PA and PLO, meanwhile praised the decision, saying in a statement, “We are very gratified that the court fully accepted our clients’ consistent position that the PA and the PLO are not subject to the jurisdiction of the United States courts in these matters.”

The PA and the PLO pay high salaries to the family members of terrorists who are convicted of carrying out attacks against Israelis and Jews; the higher the number of dead and/or the longer the prison sentence, the higher the salary to the prisoner and/or his surviving family. Upon his release, he is greeted as a hero and presented with a lump sum, along with assistance in resuming life in society. Terrorists who die in attacks are lauded by the Palestinian Authority government as “martyrs” and heroes, with public squares, streets and children’s events named in their honor.

Hana Levi Julian

Netanyahu’s Mistake

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

I know that what I am about to say is unpopular with many readers who generally agree with me. But as a seeker of truth, I am bound to speak the truth as I know it and understand it.

Last week Prime Minister Netanyahu announced the construction of 3000 new housing units in Judea and Samaria. He is doing this in a section called E1. That is the area between Maleh Adumim which basically borders on the so called “Green Line.” These units will connect the two.

First the disclaimer. I truly believe that in the event of any final status agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, Ma’aleh Adumim will be a part of Israel as will any territory between it. I also do not believe that there will be a peace agreement any time soon. The way things are going now, probably never. But in theory at least I don’t think even the Palestinians (Under Abbas – Not Hamas) would disagree with that statement. Why that won’t happen is beyond the scope of this essay.

In a related issue, I also believe that the Palestinians should not have asked to be upgraded at the UN to non-member observer state status, and it should certainly not have been granted. The US and Israel were both right to oppose it.

I understand why the Palestinians did it. They want desperately to have their own state. And they will not get it any time soon through negotiations. So they are doing whatever they can on the international scene to take steps towards making that a reality. And the world says,” Sure.” “Why not?” “Palestinians have a right to a state same as the Jews.”

But as the U.S. pointed out in a very powerful speech by UN Ambassador Susan Rice – this action does not advance the cause of peace and indeed even harms it.

How does this move in any way harm Israel? By upgrading the Palestinians to observer but non member status it can now bring Israel to the International Court of Justice at The Hague and charge it with crimes against humanity in its role as an occupier of the disputed territories. (Editor’s note: An opinion of the International Court of Justice is only binding if the parties to the dispute both accept the jurisdiction of the Court).

This court according to many opinions will be a kangaroo court when it comes to Israel. That shouldn’t be too hard to believe considering how most of international community usually views the Jewish state. Including the left in both in America and Israel. They see Israel as an oppressive occupier akin to the Apartheid State of pre Mandella South Africa.

That said, I don’t think the Palestinians are going to try bringing Israel to that court. That will most certainly end even the remotest chance for a peace deal. It will also probably end American financial aid to them as well.

It is pretty clear to me that the only reason the Prime Minister has authorized new housing in Judea and Samaria is in retaliation for what happened in the UN. They want to re-assert their right to settle anywhere in Jerusalem and its outskirts. The current Israeli position is that Jerusalem is the once and forever capital of Israel and not subject to negotiation.

While this is a view that I favor, I don’t think it was wise for the Prime Minister to announce new housing in Judea and Samaria at this time. Unless there is an urgent need to accommodate natural growth, it should not have been done. Not because they don’t have that right. But because it serves no purpose other than to antagonize the only real friend Israel has in the world, the United States of America.

It is no secret that the US is against any settlement activity. Even for natural growth. If natural growth isn’t even the reason, why spit in the face of the only friend you have by announcing new construction in Judea and Samaria? Especially right after they cheered Israel on during their incursion into Gaza; paying for the Iron Dome Defense System that saved so many lives. They gave Israel 100% support! And Israel did this right after the US made such a strong speech opposing raising Palestinian status in the UN. The US is only major country to do that aside from Canada? 138 nations voted to support the upgrade including the UK!

Harry Maryles

U.S. Sanctions 2 Lebanese Charities with Hamas Ties

Sunday, October 7th, 2012

The United States is imposing financial penalties on two Lebanese charities that raise money for Hamas.

The U.S. Treasury Dept. said it was freezing any assets related to the two Beirut-based charities, Al-Waqfiya and Al-Quds International Foundation, Reuters reported. The Treasury Dept. said Al-Waqfiya and Al-Quds “exist to support the families of Hamas fighters” as well as financing projects in the Palestinian territories “intended to spread Hamas’ influence and control.”

It is not known whether the two charities hold U.S. assets; the Treasury Dept. did not provide details on any assets under U.S. jurisdiction and declined to comment when asked, the report said.

Four years ago, the U.S. Treasury imposed economic sanctions on the Union of Good, of which Al-Waqfiya is a central component. The Union of Good was accused of fundraising for Hamas-based groups in the West Bank and Gaza, and some of those funds were used to compensate families of suicide bombers.

JTA

The Mount of Olives Declaration

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012

A thousand years ago, during the Gaonic period, the Tishrei holiday period, culminating with Sukkot, was the highlight of the year.  Pilgrims would flock to Israel to spend the holidays in Jerusalem.

In those days Israel was ruled by the Fatimids, whose empire stretched from the Levant to Northern  Africa.  The Fatimids recognized the Israeli Gaon as the leader of all Jews in their empire.

The Gaon was the head of the Israeli yeshiva, known as the Gaon Yaakov Yeshiva or the Eretz Ha-Zvi Yeshiva – the last remnant of the Sanhedrin.

The main holiday events took place on the last day of Sukkot, Hoshana Raba.  The Gaon would lead the people around the Temple Mount, and then the crowd made its way to the Mount of Olives.  After they climbed the mountain, they circled it seven times.

According to tradition, during the last three and a half years before the destruction of the Temple, the Shechina, the divine presence of God, moved to the Mount of Olives.  There, God called on the people of Israel to repent.  But the people did not repent, the Temple was destroyed, and the divine presence left Jerusalem.

A monumental stone marked the spot where God looked over the Temple Mount. The Gaon would sit on this stone as he spoke to the assembled crowd.

After a holiday sermon, he blessed the Jewish communities of the Diaspora, mentioning each by name, and those Jews who donated to the local community.  He announced new appointments (semicha) in the yeshiva and throughout the areas under his jurisdiction.

This was also the time when the Gaon pronounced a ‘Herem’ (excommunication) against those who strayed from the path.  Specifically against the Karaites, for not following the Rabbinic Kashrut laws on eating milk and meat.  In those days the Rabbinic Jews lived in the area south of the Temple Mount, while the Karaite Jews lived across the valley, in Silwan, on the south-western slope of the Mount of Olives.

In what became known as the “Mount of Olives Declaration,” the Gaon announced the dates of the holidays in the upcoming year.  This Declaration emphasized the centrality of Israel for Jews everywhere.  Pirke De-Rabbi Eliezer talks about this issue at length (ch. 8) and establishes that the calendar must be set by the Jews of Israel, regardless of their position.  “Even if there are prophets abroad and laymen in Israel, the calendar must be set by the laymen in Israel.”

Though sometimes marred by conflict, strife and hardships, the Mount of Olives celebrations were a memorable and uplifting national event.  It was a rare opportunity for Jews celebrate as a nation in their ancient capital. As one pilgrim witnessing the celebrations wrote his friend: “The congregation had the most beautiful holidays, like we’ve never seen before.”

The picture above has more information on this year’s Hoshana Raba events on the Mount of Olives.

Visit the Muqata blog.

Orat@Muqata

Cabinet Appoints Scourge of Settlers as Deputy Attorney General

Sunday, September 9th, 2012

JERUSALEM, Israel, Sept. 9th–Israel’s cabinet approved today the appointment of Shai Nitzan to the position of Deputy Attorney General for Special Assignments.

Nationalist activists and politicians say that as Deputy State Prosecutor for eight years Nitzan had a left-wing, anti-settlement, anti-nationalist agenda.

Speaking with reporters after the decision, Minister of Science Hershkowitz (Jewish Home) criticized the appointment, saying that trust has to be restored to the legal system and “this appointment does not restore trust.”

Minister of Culture and Sport Limor Livnat (Likud), however said that Minister of Justice Ya’akov Ne’eman told the cabinet that Nitzan would not deal with settlement-related matters.

Such issues, which were under the jurisdiction of Mike Blass who is retiring, would now fall under the jurisdiction of Dina Zilber, whose appointment as Blass’s replacement was approved in the same meeting.

Daniel Tauber

Israel Preparing for al-Qaeda on its Borders

Monday, July 16th, 2012

As the Middle East continues to be rocked by instability and the old regional order crumbles, Israeli security forces are preparing for an increased al-Qaeda presence along the country’s borders. The past decade has shown that the al-Qaeda network thrives in failed states, setting down roots in areas where central governments no longer exercise a clear monopoly of arms or jurisdiction. From Pakistan to Iraq to Mali, adherents of the global jihadi movement are seeking a safe haven to set up training camps, plot terror attacks, and spread their fundamentalist ideology.

In Israel’s neighborhood, at least two local regions are prime al-Qaeda growth areas: Syria, which is in the midst of a full-blown civil war, and Egypt’s Sinai peninsula, a partially lawless desert province where local Bedouin tribes enjoy more power than Egyptian security forces.

In both areas, all indications suggest that al-Qaeda-affiliated forces are setting up shop.

In Syria, jihadi fighters are pouring in from neighboring countries such as Iraq (thereby reversing the traffic flow of al-Qaeda fighters a decade ago). They are mixing with local recruits to form terror cells in Syria; these have imported Iraqi-style roadside bombings on the Syrian army and vehicle bomb attacks on Syrian government installations.

The Free Syrian Army routinely denies the presence of al-Qaeda elements in Syria; admitting otherwise would serve the propaganda efforts of the embattled Assad regime.

The Syrian regime is keen on presenting all Syrian rebels as fanatical jihadis. Despite the politicized accusations by the regime and denials by the rebels, al-Qaeda is gradually establishing itself in Syria; the Israel Defense Force assumes that sooner or later the jihadis will turn their sights on Israel.

The IDF’s Northern command recently took journalists on a tour of the Golan Heights and presented a few of the preparations underway by the Israeli military to ensure readiness for the new threat.

Despite Syria’s hostility to Israel and its rhetorical and logistical support for the largest terrorist organization in the Middle East, Hizbullah, the border between Syria and Israel has been free of hostile action since the 1973 Yom Kippur War.

Now, however, as Damascus loses sovereignty and jihadis gain room to maneuver in Syria, this may change. Possible threats include bomb and shooting attacks on the border, and the possibility of rocket fire into northern Israel.

Meanwhile, in the south, al-Qaeda’s presence in Sinai is already well-established. Last month, global jihadi terrorists attacked an Israeli Ministry of Defense border construction crew erecting a barrier on the border between Egypt and Israel. The attack claimed the life of a crew member. The terror cell was quickly met by an IDF unit, which shot dead two members, as other terrorists retreated into the sand dunes on the Egyptian side of the border.

The terror cell, exploiting weapons that are hidden in caches in Sinai, used a combination of explosives, a rocket-propelled grenade, and machine guns. Some of the weapons were, and are, entering the area from Libya.

A Sinai-based al-Qaeda-affiliated organization, saying it was behind the incident, released a video on YouTube (since removed); it featured several masked men standing in front of a global jihad flag. Two of them identified themselves as Saudi and Egyptian nationals.

“To the Jews, enemies of God, know you infidels that what is coming is different from what came until now,” one of the masked men said.

The presence of global jihadi fighters in Sinai is made more complex by the network’s having members operating in the neighboring Gaza Strip, ruled by the Hamas regime.

It is easy to imagine how one attack can set off a wider conflict, as occurred in June, after the border attack, when the Israel Air Force bombed an al-Qaeda mastermind in Gaza. In response, Hamas fired over 160 rockets into southern Israel, a reaction that prompted further Israeli airstrikes on Hamas targets.

Hamas, for its part, has no problem with al-Qaeda launching attacks on Israel from Sinai, but it does have a problem with al-Qaeda challenging its rule in Gaza. In 2009, Hamas ruthlessly enforced its jurisdiction in Gaza, sending hundreds of gunmen to the south of the Strip to put down an al-Qaeda inspired movement that challenged Hamas rule .

Yaakov Lappin

Palestinians Lose Attempt to Sue Israelis for ‘War Crimes’ On a Technicality – International Court Prosecutors Leave Opening for Future Suits

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012

In a key defeat for NGO “Lawfare” in the Arab-Israeli conflict, the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) of the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Tuesday decided that it does not have jurisdiction to begin an investigation over cases related to the 2008-09 Gaza War because “Palestine” is not a state.

In January 2009, the Palestinian Authority (PA) filed a letter with the Court, purporting to accept the ICC’s jurisdiction in order to bring war crimes cases against Israeli officials, notes Jerusalem-based NGO Monitor, which was involved in the case from the outset.

The International Criminal Court (ICC), governed by the Rome Statute, is the first permanent, treaty based, international criminal court established to help end impunity for the perpetrators of the most serious crimes of concern to the international community.

The ICC is an independent international organisation, and is not part of the United Nations system. Its seat is at The Hague in the Netherlands. Although the Court’s expenses are funded primarily by States Parties, it also receives voluntary contributions from governments, international organizations, individuals, corporations and other entities.

The Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) is one of the four organs of the Court and is headed by Luis Moreno – Ocampo, the Prosecutor, who took office on 16 June 2003.

“Throughout this process, the ICC – created to punish the worst perpetrators of war crimes and mass murder – was exploited by several EU- and European-government funded non-governmental organizations (NGOs), which intensively lobbied the OTP as part of their campaign to attack the legitimacy of the State of Israel,” says Anne Herzberg, legal advisor for NGO Monitor. “The NGOs Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, Al Haq, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, Federation Internationale des Ligues des Droits de l´Homme (FIDH), and Adalah campaigned at the ICC in support of the Palestinian Authority’s political goals. This clearly was contradictory to the spirit and substance of peace negotiations.”

On behalf of NGO Monitor, Herzberg submitted a legal brief on the case. The brief argued that the ICC’s jurisdiction is defined by the 1998 Rome Statute, which makes clear that only states can accept the Court’s jurisdiction. The Statute was adopted after years of careful diplomatic negotiations, and allowing the PA to fall under the Court’s jurisdiction would have essentially amounted to a re-writing of the Statute. In addition, the brief argued that, contrary to claims by NGO proponents of the PA initiative, the ICC was not established as a court of universal jurisdiction, and NGO attempts to transform it into such would be legally improper. The OTP used similar arguments to support its decision.

“The fact that the case even proceeded this far was clear legal overreaching, but it shows the strength of NGOs that lead the de-legitimization and demonization campaigns against Israel,” adds Herzberg.

“The OTP’s decision today is a strong rebuke to these NGOs, their political agenda, and their campaign to isolate Israel from the international community,” notes Herzberg. “International arenas are routinely hijacked for political purposes, but today’s decision was markedly different.”

This victory over Israel’s Palestinian foes may not be long lasting, and depends strictly on the UN General Assembly’s decision in the near future to recognize or avoid the recognition of a State of Palestine.

Sealing the International Court’s 8 point decision are two crucial notes, numbered 7 & 8:

7. The Office has been informed that Palestine has been recognised as a State in bilateral relations by more than 130 governments and by certain international organisations, including United Nation bodies. However, the current status granted to Palestine by the United Nations General Assembly is that of “observer”, not as a “Non-member State”. The Office understands that on 23 September 2011, Palestine submitted an application for admission to the United Nations as a Member State in accordance with article 4(2) of the United Nations Charter, but the Security Council has not yet made a recommendation in this regard. While this process has no direct link with the declaration lodged by Palestine, it informs the current legal status of Palestine for the interpretation and application of article 12.

8. The Office could in the future consider allegations of crimes committed in Palestine, should competent organs of the United Nations or eventually the Assembly of States Parties resolve the legal issue relevant to an assessment of article 12 or should the Security Council, in accordance with article 13(b), make a referral providing jurisdiction.

Jewish Press Staff

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