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October 8, 2015 / 25 Tishri, 5776
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Shurat Hadin’

US Court Imposes Mere $10M Bond on PLO and PA in Terrorism Case

Tuesday, August 25th, 2015

The judge in a New York terrorism case that ended in a victory for the plaintiffs on Monday, Aug. 24, imposed a $10 million bond on the defendants, the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestinian Authority. The defendants must also make $1 million monthly payments during the duration of any appeals of the $655 million award to the plaintiffs at the end of the jury trial back in February.

Judge George Daniels presided over Sokolow v. PLO in U.S. District Court in the Southern District Court of New York.

Daniels accepted the 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.

The U.S. government claimed in its Statement of Interest that ensuring the viability of the PA and PLO are “essential to key U.S. security and diplomatic interests,” which include the “peace process” and “fighting extremism and terror.”

The plaintiffs in the case had all either been injured themselves or lost family members in terrorist attacks carried out by or with the support of the PLO and the PA between 2001 and 2004.

Attorneys for the plaintiffs, which included the Israeli law firm Shurat HaDin, had requested a $30 million monthly bond be paid into an account until the case is resolved.

The plaintiffs’ lawyers argued that evidence the Arab entities coffers are not in danger of collapse is the continued payment by them to jailed terrorists and the families of PLO members who died during terrorist attacks. That practice continues to this day.

Lawyers for the defendants had originally asked the court not to impose any bail at all. During the hearing on Monday, a lawyer for the Palestinian Arabs suggested his clients would be able to deposit $10 million by next month and continue depositing $1 million per month.

An attorney for the plaintiffs dropped the demand during Monday’s hearing to $20 million per month, following an initial deposit of $30 million. That attorney, Kent Yalowitz, told the Investigative Project on Terrorism that he was “disappointed” in the size of the bond. He called it a “token amount” for the defendants.

Arab Bank Settles NY Fed Court Case over Hamas Terror Attacks

Sunday, August 16th, 2015

Jordan’s Arab Bank Plc has agreed to an out-of-court settlement with 500 U.S. citizens in a lawsuit charging the bank with fiscal liability for Hamas terrorist attacks during the second intifada.

The bank was set to face the start of a trial on Monday with 17 plaintiffs that was to determine the potential amount of total financial damages to be paid, an amount that could have reached millions of dollars.

Michael Eisner, attorney for the plaintiffs, confirmed the settlement on Friday, as did a spokesperson for the Arab Bank. Neither disclosed the terms of the agreement, which are to be finalized over the next few months.

The Arab Bank was accused of knowingly maintaining accounts for Hamas operatives and facilitating payments to families of suicide bombers and those imprisoned or injured during the second intifada, beginning in 2000.

Arab Bank argued it had properly screened account holders and transactions against lists of designated terrorist organizations.

In September 2014 a jury in federal district court in Brooklyn, New York found the bank liable under the U.S. Anti-Terrorism Act for 24 terror attacks carried out by Hamas terrorists more than a decade ago in and around Israel.

The Bank of China, Credit Lyonnais SA, HSBC Holdings Plc and Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc, among others, are all facing similar claims.

PA Back Down on ICC in Exchange for Frozen Tax Revenue

Sunday, March 29th, 2015

As a lesson in practical politics, we’ve now learned that the Palestinian Authority does respond to properly applied pressure, and at least to a certain extent, the PA can be forced to uphold its end of an agreement, if it is firmly and resolutely made clear to them that it is in their self-interest to do so.

Following unilateral steps and threats by the PA in the international arena, Israel decided to freeze the transfer of all collected PA tax revenue since January, to the tune of around 500 million shekels.

While the PA will still be joining the International Criminal Court on April 1, it has decided it will not pursue additional legal steps against Israel or Israelis, according to a Jerusalem Post report.

The decision was made in connection to Israel agreeing, on Friday, to free up the frozen PA tax revenue, minus the PA’s debt to Israel for services including water, electricity and medical care.

In addition, the PA won’t be halting security cooperation with Israel, as it threatened to do.

Both decisions were made, based on rational self-interest considerations on the PA’s part – survival.

Maintaining security cooperation with Israel is the only way the PA won’t be taken over by Hamas in Judea and Samaria.

And they discovered that agreeing to not attack Israel in the ICC, which would be yet another breach in the treaties they signed with Israel, was the only way to get Israel to free up their tax revenue, without which the PA would collapse.

No decision has been made by Israel whether to release March’s revenue to the PA. Israel is waiting to see what the PA actually does at the ICC in April, and if they maintain the security cooperation.

Israeli legal organizations, such as Shurat HaDin, have also prepared their own legal cases against the Palestinian Authority to bring to the International Criminal Court, and their cases are far stronger than anything the PA could possibly bring against Israel. If the PA does takes steps against Israel at the ICC, these organizations will hit back even harder.

This is a threat that the PA leadership is also concerned about.

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.

Abu Mazen Will Cancel ICC Bid for Restarting Negotiations

Thursday, January 15th, 2015

Abu Mazen is trying to climb down out of the International Criminal Court tree he climbed himself into.

The Lebanese newspaper Al-Achbar, reports that PA President Mahmoud “Abu Mazen” Abbas told the Egyptian president that if Israel restarts negotiations with him within the next few weeks, he won’t sue senior Israeli officials in the Hague.

The Israeli legal organization, Shurat Hadin / Israel Law Center, has already prepared and submitted multiple law suits to the ICC against senior PA officials, in preparation for the PA being accepted to the ICC.

Abbas may have woken up to the fact that he will be the one on the defendant’s chair soon enough.

Lawyers Called Upon to Use Their Legal Skills in Israel’s Defense

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014

From every quarter, the global attacks against Israel are escalating. No sooner did the summer’s rocket barrages from the Islamic organizations in Gaza come to an end than an unprecedented wave of murderous terrorist violence in Israeli cities commenced. At the same time the anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement has moved into high gear, threatening to delegitimize the Jewish State.  Jewish communities worldwide report daily attacks menacing their security.

In response to these dangerous challenges, the Tel-Aviv based civil rights center, Shurat HaDin-Israel Law Center, is organizing attorneys and other supporters of Israel to fight back. The group has launched its first ever “Activist  Lawyer’s Training Seminar” (ALTS), to be held June 29th through July 5th in Jerusalem. The ALTS will be an intensive week-long summer training course designed to give attorneys the opportunity to learn skills and strategies to combat Israel’s enemies on the new emerging battlefields being utilized by the terrorist and the hate groups. It will mix dynamic lectures and legal workshops with cutting edge field trips to the frontline of Israel’s conflict with neighboring enemies.

The Kosher ALTS program will provide five star Israeli hotel accommodations.

According to Shurat HaDin director Nissan Darshan-Leitner, “We decided to initiate the Activist Lawyer’s Training Seminar this coming June 2015 to teach attorneys how they can use their legal skills to help defend the Jewish State. The Israeli government alone can no longer fend off all the vicious threats to our existence and  the private sector, especially lawyers, need to get involved and join the battle. We are bringing in some of the best attorneys, professors and officials involved in confronting Israel’s enemies globally to teach the participants the skills they need to play a vital role.”

Shurat HaDin is uniquely qualified to host the summer’s training course for lawyers. For the past twelve years, the law center has become known for its use of innovative legal strategies utilized to combat global terror financing and to seek justice for terror victims in courtrooms around the world. Shurat HaDin has made a reputation using creative legal tactics to staunchly defend the State of Israel and the world Jewish communities against the growing tide of anti-Israel activism and anti-Semitism through calls for boycotts by the BDS movement.  The group has taken the lead in by going on the offensive to defend IDF officers and Israeli officials against accusations of war crimes in different international tribunals.

The ALTS was specially crafted to meet the needs of lawyers from around an international array of countries who have expressed an interest in learning about Shurat HaDin’s work and methods and getting involved as legal activists on behalf of the State of Israel and the Jewish people. Over the years, Shurat HaDin has developed expertise in developing quality and fun educational programs through its highly successful “Ultimate Missions to Israel,” which the group has been running since 2003, and its summer and winter Student Internship Program for law students.

For the first time, Shurat HaDin is directing its educational programming to practicing lawyers while offering them continuing legal education (“CLE”) credits. The ALTS offers an incredible program filled with lectures and intensive workshops by renowned attorneys and Israeli officials, including Canadian MP Irwin Cotler and Israeli Supreme Court Justice Yoram Danziger and field trips to Israeli agencies and institutions that are inaccessible rarely by the general public, including the military courts, Israeli security agencies, IDF bases and border crossings. In addition to the opportunity to travel in and enjoy Israel, participants will receive practical training in advocacy on Israel’s behalf on issues such as terror victim litigation, Israel in international law, the anti-Israel BDS movement and lawfare.

Israel Law Center Wins Landmark Decision Against PA in NY Court

Friday, November 21st, 2014

Shurat HaDin – the Israel Law Center – on Thursday (Nov. 20) won a landmark decision against the Palestinian Authority (PA) on behalf of 11 families of victims of terror. The U.S. District Court in New York set a date for a jury trial in January for the case that began in 2004.

The Israeli civil rights advocacy group is representing the families in a lawsuit that holds the PA and Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) responsible for the deaths of their loved ones due to seven terror attacks between 2001 and 2004, during the period of the second intifada.

“For years the PA provided funding and every measure of support for the murderous terrorist operations in Israel that devastated the country and left so many civilians dead,” said Shurat HaDin head Attorney Nitzana Darshan-Leitner.

“The decision and trial will provide an unprecedented opportunity to present to a New York jury all that the evidence that has been amassed documenting the Palestinians’ use of terrorism as an official policy to advance their goals,” she added.

At issue is the question of whether the PA and PLO are “vicariously liable” for the deaths of the American citizens killed in the seven terror attacks.

Thursday’s decision found there was sufficient evidence to prove that PA employees were involved in carrying out terror attacks against civilians in Israel and that the PA and PLO provided weapons, money and other material support to the operatives, in violation of U.S. Anti-Terror laws.

Moreover, there is sufficient evidence to provide the possibility that a jury could also rule the PA and PLO guilty of providing “safe haven” to the terrorists, and material support to Fatah’s military wing, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades and Gaza’s ruling Hamas terrorist organization.

Recently Shurat HaDin won a ruling against the Arab Bank in which the bank was found guilty of providing material support to Hamas in funding terrorist attacks. The bank has appealed the case.

The trial set for January is a landmark case whose costs in terms of damages awarded by the court to the plaintiffs could reach up to $1 billion.



Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/israel-law-center-wins-landmark-decision-against-pa-in-ny-court/2014/11/21/

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