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January 25, 2017 / 27 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Nitsana Darshan Leitner’

Shurat HaDin: Obama Secretly Transferred $1.7 Billion to Iran to Keep It Out of Terror Victims’ Reach

Tuesday, September 13th, 2016

Shurat HaDin-Israel Law Center, representing American the families of terror victims who have won US court judgments against the government of Iran for its support of Palestinian terrorist attacks in Israel, on Tuesday released a letter it sent US Congress members alleging that the Obama Administration kept secret the details of the $1.7 billion in cash payments to Tehran in January 2016 in order to evade efforts by their clients to recover those funds to satisfy outstanding court awards.

In the past, American terror victims have been successful in seizing Iranian bank accounts when those had been located.

The letter, sent by attorneys Nitsana Darshan-Leitner of Tel-Aviv and Robert Tolchin of New York, recalls that on January 17, 2016, President Obama announced the settlement of a legal dispute between the United States and Iran over $400 million held by the US in a Foreign Military Sales (“FMS”) program account since 1979. The Obama Administration agreed to pay the $400 million it finally conceded it owed Iran, plus payment of an additional $1.3 million in interest on that amount.

Then, “in recent weeks, the $1.7 billion which was secretly paid out in cash has come under severe scrutiny because the timing and circumstances of the payments appear to confirm the Iranian claim that the White House agreed to pay the money as ransom to Tehran for the release of American hostages.”

However, in light of the recent revelations in a Congressional subcommittee hearing held on Thursday, September 8, 2016, Shurat HaDin is asserting that “it is now clear that the Administration has deliberately kept numerous payments to Iran secret in order to shield Iran from having to forfeit those funds to pay terror victims amounts Iran owes under outstanding US judgments.”

The Shurat HaDin letter cites a “suspicious revelation at the Congressional subcommittee hearing that the United States and Iran did not draft a written settlement agreement or any other formal documentation of the cash transfers, and that Iran specifically directed the Iran-US Tribunal at the Hague, where the claim was to be resolved through arbitration, that it should not record the settlement of the claim for the parties.”

Shurat HaDin asserts that under a legislation passed in 2000, the US was legally entitled to apply the $400 million in the FSM account to satisfy terror victims’ judgments, and this way eliminating the $400 million balance and nearly 16 years of interest claimed by Iran.

Shurat HaDin President Nitsana Darshan-Leitner said in a statement: “We believe that the secrecy in which these cash payments were made was part of an effort by the White House to conceal these payments from the terror victims and to hide the fact that it was effectively canceling Iran’s debt for its terror-related activity. This is a horrible fraud against the terror victims. It appears the secret cash transfers were specifically done as an end run around the ability of the families to attach the money and enforce their federal court judgments.”

Why didn’t the Treasury ever tell the families they were holding these funds?” Darshan-Leitner demanded to know.

Had either the settlement or an award against the United States at the Iran-US Tribunal been entered on the books, and Iran had sought to have the settlement or award confirmed in US court, then terror-victims with judgments against Iran could have legally “attached” any judgment affirming the settlement or award, so that the amount could be applied to satisfy their terror-compensation judgments, Shurat HaDin contends, explaining that “instead, the Administration went to great lengths to ensure that the $1.7 billion purported settlement was shrouded in secrecy, was never reduced to writing or even recorded with the Tribunal in Hague, and was paid to Iran in cash as quickly and directly as possible in order to head off any chance that Iran would be forced to forfeit any amount to pay legal judgments it owes to American terror victims.”

Shurat HaDin urged Congress to continue to investigate these issues, and to take action to guarantee that further payments to Iran do not take place as long as Iran remains a state sponsor of terrorism and a threat to its neighbors, “and until it has paid every judgment it owes to American victims of terror.”

Nitsana Darshan-Leitner addressed her letter to Senator Marco Rubio and Representatives Mike Pompeo and Ed Royce, who have each introduced legislation in response to the $1.7 billion payment to Iran, and to House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Sean P. Duffy, whose subcommittee held a special hearing on the $1.7 billion payments last Thursday, September 8, 2016.

JNi.Media

Shurat HaDin: World Vision Rejected our Warnings about Funding Hamas Terrorism

Thursday, August 4th, 2016

For the past four years, Tel Aviv based civil rights center Shurat HaDin has been warning that funds provided to Gaza by the world’s largest evangelical charity World Vision were being utilized for terrorism, the organization said in a statement Thursday, following the indictment by Israel of Mohammed El Halabi, a Hamas terrorist and senior WV employee who is accused of transferring as much as $50 million in charity funds to support Hamas terrorist activities.

In 2012, Shurat HaDin notified the Australian government that its aid money administrated by World Vision was being transferred to front charities of Palestinian terror groups in Gaza. Both the Australian government and WV rejected Shurat HaDin’s warning.

In 2015, Shurat HaDin again cautioned the Australian government that WV was operating as an active arm of the PFLP and other terror groups. WV chief executive Tim Costello vehemently denied the charges and claimed that WV had “no interest in supporting terrorism.”

However, as of this week, Shurat HaDin’s warnings against WVA have been proven true. Israel’s internal security service has arrested a senior employee of World Vision ver the course of several years, to Palestinian terror organization Hamas.

According to Shurat HaDin President Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, “for years we have been warning that WV is funding Palestinian terror groups in Gaza. WV has repeatedly denied our charges and refused to seriously investigate where its funds are going. They assured us that the organizations they fund had been vetted and were not engaged in terrorism. Who knows how many of Hamas’s missiles and stabbing attacks were funded by WV after they were put on notice that theey were financing Palestinian terror. The assistance to Gaza by foreign aid organizations is directly responsible for the murder of scores of Jews in Israel.”

David Israel

Terror Victims’ Court Victory Exposes America’s Glory and Decay

Thursday, February 26th, 2015

In New York this week, a jury of twelve men and women returned a guilty verdict on all counts against the Palestinian Authority (PA) and the PLO for their roles in six terror attacks that left ten American families, including mine, devastated. That jury awarded over $218 million in damages to the thirty-three plaintiffs in our case, Sokolow v. PLO.

In Washington, one could hear a pin drop as not one official praised the proper working of the American justice system in punishing terror where it counts—in its pocketbook.

The law applied in Judge George B. Daniels Manhattan courtroom was the Anti-Terrorism Act, or ATA. That law was passed by Congress and signed by Bill Clinton in 1993.

As our lawyer, Kent Yalowitz of Arnold & Porter, stated in his summation before the jury: wherever an American citizen goes in the world, the ATA goes with him. The ATA was the one positive byproduct of the brutal murder of Leon Klinghoffer aboard the Achille Lauro: the U.S. found it did not have the criminal or civil tools to punish those who harmed Americans beyond U.S. borders. The ATA allows for both criminal prosecution as well as civil penalties, and was passed by large majorities in both houses.

The Palestinian Authority and the PLO lost several cases by default judgments when they simply refused to show up. Eventually, former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice told them to obtain lawyers and fight the charges against them. The Palestinians responded by employing a top-flight Washington law firm that did everything possible to keep their clients out of court, and once in court, to prevent them from losing.

The Palestinians put up a spirited defense. That the jury returned a unanimous verdict on two dozen counts after only two half-days of deliberations speaks volumes to the damning evidence presented by Yalowitz, Nitsana Darshan Leitner of Shurat HaDin and their colleagues.

As a plaintiff in Sokolow vs. PLO, I had the privilege, but also the horror, of spending a few days in court, testifying along with my wife and our son. We had to revisit the horrors of the bombing which irrevocably altered our lives. We cried as we recalled the devastation.

The Palestinians’ attorneys made every effort to convince the jury that the bombers, shooters, and their supporters acted alone, that the PA and its officers were opposed to those activities, and that payments to “martyr” families and the ongoing payments to Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails served as no incentive to those who killed and maimed. The jury did not buy it.

The jurors assigned aggregate damages which, when tripled as provided in the ATA, charged the PA and PLO with over $650 million. The outcome was a resounding victory for the ten plaintiff families, our lawyers, our supporters, and all of those who truly wish to fight terror by all means available.

The PA and PLO fought this suit for eleven years. They lost it in six weeks.

The outcome in that New York courtroom shows the majesty of the American legal system. A legal concern was identified, an appropriate law was passed, and Americans affected by the scourge of international terror made use of the law to seek and find redress. This is America at its finest. Such an incredible outcome, delivered by twelve “average” citizens of New York, ones without any background or particular interest in the political issues of the Middle East, shows the unique face of American democracy and justice.

And yet, while the American judicial system, utilizing tools created by the legislative branch, brought us justice, another branch of the American government has repeatedly denied it to us.

One would think that the president or maybe the attorney general or even the secretary of state might put out a statement on how wonderful the American system of justice is for giving hope to people whose lives were crushed by the ever-growing scourge of international terror. But not. one. word.

Instead of celebrating this modicum of relief from unspeakable pain for American citizens, the executive branch appears more concerned with another big bill the PA has racked up. Instead of hailing the U.S. legal system for providing justice to families whose lives were shattered by terror and offering hope to others,  the president and his minions are hard at work attempting to find ways in which they can extricate the PA and the PLO from their current financial mess.

Even Hillary Clinton, whose husband signed the law into existence, had nothing to say about the same terror victims she used as props for photo shoots during her senatorial visits to Israel.

There’s much more fueling this disappointment.

You would never know it, but the ATA has a criminal component for prosecuting terrorists who harm American citizens. But the Department of Justice has never utilized that tool in any of the 80 attacks in and around Israel in which American citizens were killed or injured since the signing of the Oslo Accords. The U.S. has not indicted, extradited, or prosecuted a single Palestinian terrorist since the 1968 conviction of Sirhan Sirhan. While criminal standards for conviction are admittedly far higher than their civil law counterparts, the U.S. has been blasé about Palestinian terror—neither arresting the bad guys nor calling out the PA or PLO for their active and willful roles in inciting and coordinating terror against Israeli (and American) citizens.

So, while the jury in New York has spoken; DoJ in the nation’s capitol has been out to lunch. Even our anguished requests between 2008 and 2011 that terrorists who harmed Americans not be included in the deal to release the soldier Gilad Schalit fell on deaf ears; fifteen such terrorists went free without a word from either DoJ or the president.

Ignoring terror and its supporters will not make terror go away. Calling it “extremism” will not make it less horrific.

The US has an obligation to recognize that the PA, which has been the source of hope for three consecutive administrations, is as guilty as Hamas with regard to supporting and encouraging terror.

Imagine how I feel, knowing that one of the unindicted co-conspirators in our case is today a minister in the present Palestinian Authority government. The U.S. and the world will never be free from terror until it identifies its source honestly and deals with it forcefully. Only a handful of world leaders today see the PA and the PLO as the jurors saw it: terror-supporting entities.

America is a great country and the ATA has allowed us and our fellow plaintiffs to seek and receive redress for the role the PA and PLO played in providing material support to terrorists who harmed us and our loved ones.

Monday will remain a great day in American legal history. Still, we must remember that each year the U.S. gives $400 million to the PA, which in turn gives about $50 million to terrorists in Israeli jails. As Kent Yalowitz successfully implored the jury: you can connect the dots.

Alan Joseph Bauer

Shurat HaDin to Bring Hamas to Hague for War Crimes Against its Own People

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014

An Israeli civil rights group, Shurat HaDin Israel Law Center, has filed a complaint in the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague against Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal over the July-August murders of 38 Gazan civilians.

The motion by the Shurat Hadin Israel Law Center to bring Mashaal to the ICC was made possible by the fact that he is a citizen of Jordan, one of the ICC member states, and represents the first time that a Palestinian terrorist would be brought to the court on the basis of his Jordanian citizenship.

The complaint alleges that Hamas executed 20 Gazan civilians on July 28 for engaging in anti-Hamas protests, and publicly executed at least 18 civilians on August 22 for “collaboration” with Israel. The complaint further states that Mashaal “had knowledge of the executions, oversees Hamas’s governance of Gaza, and actively encourages and supports the executions.”

As a Jordanian citizen, the Hamas leader is subject to prosecution by the ICC because court is “empowered to exercise its jurisdiction over all acts committed by the citizen of a member, wherever those acts are committed,” explained attorney Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, the chairperson of Shurat Hadin.

In video footage broadcast around the world, Hamas spokesmen testified to the killings of at least 38 civilians in Gaza since the outbreak of this summer’s war with Israel. One of the videos shows Hamas executioners publicly announcing the verdict against some of the condemned civilians, who appear kneeling with cloth bags over their heads in a Gaza mosque. The executions brought widespread condemnation of Hamas from a number of human rights groups.

The Israeli legal group filed the complaint partly as a response to statements made last week by ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, who said that the court has not “avoided opening an investigation into alleged war crimes in Gaza due to political pressure” and has only failed to do so due to a lack of jurisdiction. According to ICC protocols, either the claimant or defendant in a case must belong to an ICC member state, a status that neither Israel nor Gaza holds. By trying Mashaal as a Jordanian, the Israeli group hopes to force the court to convene on the case, as Bensouda indicated it would be willing to do.

Darshan-Leitner told Tazpit News Agency that if the case against Mashaal succeeds in going to court, the results would be significant for Israel. The Hamas leader would be arrested and put on trial, and as the attorney pointed out, “the punishment for war crimes is imprisonment for life. It’s a life sentence without parole.” She also noted that a successful trial would undermine the legitimacy of Hamas, who would be “recognized as committing war crimes against its own people.”

Asked about the prospects of the case going to trial, Darshan-Leitner said that she intends to “put public pressure on the court to deal with this issue.” She noted that the court has an incentive to take the case in order to avoid appearing hypocritical, since the chief ICC prosecutor herself wrote that the court is willing to deal with allegations against Hamas.

“Quite frankly,” she said, “I don’t see a way out for the court from dealing with this case. For the first time they have the jurisdiction to deal with Hamas war crimes in Gaza.”

Zeev Ben-Yechiel / Tazpit News Agency

South African U. Suspends Students Who Broke up Concert by Israeli

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

The University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg has given a suspended sentence of a one-year ouster to 11 students charged with disrupting a concert last march by Israeli-born pianist Yosef Reshef on the university campus.

The students and other Muslims and BDS extremists broke into the auditorium and forced the cancellation of a performance the world-renowned Reshef before a full house.

Ten students were found guilty of misconduct for disrupting or inciting others to disrupt the piano recital. The order to exclude them from the university was suspended on condition that the students are not found guilty of any other form of misconduct for a period of two years.

They also will not be allowed to hold any office in any student governance structure for a period of one year and will each have to perform 80 hours of community service. One student  was found guilty of not obeying a lawful instruction issued by a University employee, and will be required to perform an additional 50 hours of community service for this offence.

Nitsana Darshan-Leitner of the Israel Law Center (Shurat HaDin) commented, “This is a small but important victory over the BDS extremist in South Africa. Hopefully, it will deter future violent protests that attempt to bar Jewish artists from performing there.”

Jewish Press News Briefs

Iran Owes Terror Victims Billions of Dollars, Says Activist Lawyer

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013

An Israeli lawyer who has won billions of dollars for relatives of terror victims has asked Obama administration officials why they are discussing letting Iran off the hook on sanctions while it owes American relatives colossal sums of money.

Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, who heads the Israel Law Center, has won billions of dollars for relatives of terror victims in lawsuits against the Palestinian Authority, Hamas, Hezbollah and other terrorist organization as well as banks and other agencies that aid terrorists or act as a pipeline for funds for them.

She wrote Under Secretary Wendy Sherman last month, “Iran must not be allowed under any circumstances to avoid making payment of reparations and due compensations to the families of those whose lives they have destroyed through terrorism…and through the terror organizations it supports: Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah.”

In a blog posted this past week on The Hill website based in Washington, Darshan-Leitner noted that Sherman did not respond, and she added, “As a result of lawsuits taken by American victims of terror in U.S. courts, the Iranian regime currently owes billions of dollars from decades of terrorist activity resulting in dozens of victims and severed families. This debt has yet to be recognized or paid by the Iranian government with no sign of an intention to do so.”

She called on Congress to ensure that the U.S. government is working to keep the interests of the terror victims’ families on the table.

Darshan-Leitner pointed out that when George W. Bush was President, he conditioned repealing of any sanctions against Libya on payment of reparations to the victims of Libyan terror. “This move resulted in the payment of $1.5 billion dollars to the victims’ families,” she wrote.

On the other hand, Bush also removed North Korea from the list of State Sponsors of Terrorism in 2008, without compensation being paid to American families, she added.

“We fear this lack of response not only portends a potential Iranian exemption from paying reparations and giving due compensation to families affected by terror in return for normalization of relations, but that it also signals a softening of Sherman’s position on the proliferation of terrorist activity and most significantly, creates difficult implications for the United States’ reputation as a pillar of justice in the war on terror,” according to Darshan-Leitner.

Her blog continued, “As lawyers for American, Canadian and Israeli victims of Iranian terror, we call on Congress to take action and place a check on Under Secretary Sherman in this current round of negotiations… We call on all members of Congress to ensure that victims of terror are not forgotten and to help make the Iranian regime provide the proper reparations and due compensation for the innocent lives taken at the hands of terrorist activities and not to gain a free pass in the name of diplomatic maneuverings.”

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Legal Activist Calls for Prosecuting France 2 for Al-Dura Hoax

Monday, May 20th, 2013

Israel should file criminal charges against France 2 following a government report Sunday that the television channel broadcast a film in 200 that falsely portrayed the alleged killing of 12-year-old Mohammed Al-Dura by Israeli soldiers.

Charles Enderlin was bureau chief of France 2 when the Second Intifada, also known as the Oslo War, broke out. He “should never be allowed to practice journalism in Israel again,” said Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, director of Shurat HaDin – Israel Law Center.

“In 2007 we argued at the High Court in Jerusalem that France 2’s credentials be canceled, but the press office cited they had a lack of authority to do so,” she added. “Now that the government has determined we were right, it’s time France 2’s bureau chief be prosecuted. Enderlin’s report became a symbol of the second Intifada and a modern-day blood libel directly resulting in hundreds of Jewish and Arab deaths, only for the purpose of raising France 2’s ratings.

“The French network ignited a still-burning torch of hatred against Israel, with images of al-Dura still being presented in anti-Israel protests in Iran, the Arab world and in Western Europe. Those who are responsible must bear the consequences of their actions in order to avoid the repetition of incidents like this and, moreover, to stop this blood libel once and for all.”

Jewish Press News Briefs

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