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December 10, 2016 / 10 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘victims of terror’

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

Special Ceremony at Jerusalem’s Mt. Herzl Honors Israel’s Victims of Terror

Wednesday, May 11th, 2016

Hundreds gathered at Jerusalem’s Mt. Herzl military cemetery Wednesday afternoon to honor Israel’s victims of terror, those inadvertent “combatants” who never had a choice in their “deployment.”

Some had actually been soldiers at one point and were likely to serve as reservists. One of those was 26-year-old Alon Bakal, a member of an elite unit of the Golani Brigade during his IDF service.

Bakal was working as a shift manager at the Simta Pub on Tel Aviv’s popular Dizengoff Street Jan. 1, 2016 when he was shot and killed by an Israeli Arab terrorist. His parents were one of several family members of terror victims who laid wreaths to honor loved ones during the ceremony.

Other victims were civilians, whose loved ones also spoke and participated in the ceremony, as did Israel’s tops government leaders.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu faced a brief spate of heckling by one angry family member, but continued his remarks.

President Reuven Rivlin was the first to lay a wreath, followed by the prime minister and then various government ministers and heads of Israel’s police, security agencies and military.

The ceremonies concluded with a male vocalist singing the Israeli national anthem, HaTikvah.

Hana Levi Julian

New Jersey Businesswoman Launches ‘Give18’ for Victims of Terror

Thursday, November 26th, 2015

A New Jersey businesswoman has launched a new initiative to encourage her fellow entrepreneurs and their customers to donate funds to help Israeli victims of terror.

Ora Assayag says she decided to launch the “Give18” campaign after watching the latest flare up of violence in Israel on TV screens and reading daily reports about the latest attacks.

Customers can automatically donate 18 percent of the price of their purchases to Operation Embrace through the Give18 campaign. Assaya, who is the founder and CEO of Ora’s Amazing Herbal, has already started the campaign in her own business.

Operation Embrace is a non-organization that supports programs and projects that help victims of terror in Israel and the United States.

“We realize that little we do or say here in America can have a direct effect on ending terrorism and bringing safety and security to the citizens of Israel, but that does not mean that we can’t lend a helping hand to those who need it most,” said Assayag. “In Hebrew, the number 18 represents life.

“We hope this effort will be noticed and implemented by other local businesses so that we as a community can help even more,” she added.

With the holidays coming up, it’s the perfect way to make a difference and do our part in helping to right the terrible wrongs taking place in Israel.”

Jewish Press News Briefs

Obama Asks NYC’s US District Court Judge to Waive Bond for PA, PLO

Tuesday, August 11th, 2015

The Obama administration asked a United States judge on Monday (Aug. 10) to “carefully consider” the size of the bond he sets for the Palestinian Authority while it appeals an award for damages in the deaths and injuries of Americans in six terror attacks in Israel.

Both the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestinian Authority were determined to be financial liable for the attacks in the civil trial that ended in a New York court in February.

Under U.S. anti-terrorism law, the jury’s award of $218.5 million was automatically tripled to a total of $655.5 million.

Attorneys for the defense argued the PA could not afford to post the bond for the appeal, typically 111 percent of the judgement. They asked the judge to waive the bond requirement altogether instead.

The Obama administration concurred, and took the highly unusual step late Monday night of filing a formal “Statement of Interest of the United States of America” with Justice George B. Daniels of the Federal District Court in Manhattan.

The plaintiffs, who were opposed to the request, included ten families of victims of terror, comprising some three dozen members, eight of whom were physically injured in the attacks and others who were related to those who were murdered in the attacks that took place between 2002 to 2004.

The attacks left a total of 33 dead and more than 450 injured, including a number of U.S. citizens. They were carried out by terrorists from the Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades and Hamas.

“The United States strongly supports the rights of victims of terrorism to vindicate their interests in federal court and to receive just compensation for their injuries,” the Department of Justice wrote in the brief.

However, requiring the Palestinian Authority to pay “a significant portion of its revenues would likely severely compromise the PA’s ability to operate as a governmental authority,” wrote deputy secretary of state Antony J. Blinken.

“A PA insolvency and collapse would harm current and future U.S.-led efforts to achieve a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

In court last month, Judge Daniels made it clear he intended to set the bond as a “significant demonstration” that the Palestinian Authority and PLO were both “willing and able to pay a judgment, if a judgment is entered and affirmed on appeal.” The families have taken the position that the defendants should deposit at least $30 million per month with the court as a show of good faith.

Blinken added in the DOJ’s brief Monday that the government was not taking a position on the merits of the case; only the impact of the bond itself.

There has been some friction over the case – and over the issue of intervening on behalf of the PLO and PA for the bond – between the State Department and the DOJ.

Hana Levi Julian

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.

 

 

Hana Levi Julian

Jordan’s Arab Bank Goes on Trial in NY for Terror Financing

Monday, August 11th, 2014

A worldwide legal earthquake is about to begin in Brooklyn, where the Jordan-based Arab Bank goes on trial today (Monday) for authorizing money transfers from terror entities to Hamas members abroad.

The case, a lawsuit by the families of US victims of terror, has been 10 years in the making and revolves around ‘martyr payments’ to the relatives of Hamas suicide bombers via the Jordan-based Arab Bank through its New York branch during the second intifada.

The plaintiffs claim in their suit the Bank has violated Section 2339B of Title 18 of the US Code, which makes it illegal for an entity within the United States to provide material support or resources to designated foreign terrorist organizations. Hamas is included on that list. Attorney Gary Osen of Osen LLC is the lead attorney in the case.

This is the first-ever civil trial targeting terrorist financing, one that has dragged on for a decade because Arab Bank has worked just that hard to fight it — or at least to delay the proceedings as long as possible. When the Supreme Court rejected the Bank’s petition to hear the case in June, the way was paved for today’s hearing in Brooklyn.

In April 2013, a New York Federal Court penalizing the Bank with an order imposing sanctions for refusing to submit documents for review by the plaintiffs to determine whether they could be used as evidence in the case.

That order raised Cain between three agencies at the federal level in the Obama administration – the US State Department, the Justice Department, and the Treasury Department – as officials tried to decide just how to deal with this delicate but dirty matter that affects not one, but at least two or more of America’s closest allies in the Middle East.

The Bank claimed it refused to submit the documents because it could have violated bank secrecy laws in Jordan and Lebanon. The lower US court was having none of that and ruled a jury could interpret that to mean an automatic admission of guilt on the part of the Bank.

In a pre-trial statement to Forbes, the Bank commented, “The facts show that Arab Bank provided routine banking service in compliance with applicable counter terrorism laws and regulations, and had no intention of providing support to Hamas or any other known terrorist organization.”

The Bank is accused of facilitating massive money transfers from 1998 to 2004 to Hamas leaders and institutions, as well as to the families of jailed Hamas members and suicide bombers. The money allegedly came from insurance benefits provided by the Saudi Committee and the Hezbollah al-Shahid Foundation. Both supported the intifada by providing benefits to the families of those who “martyred” themselves or who became injured or captured by the IDF in the process.

The insurance was “ultimately designed to provide substantial material support to Palestinian terrorist organizations and to provide a meaningful incentive both to prospective recruits and to individuals contemplating the commission of independent acts of violence in the name of the ‘popular resistance’,” according to the complaint, as quoted by Business Insider.

There were five attacks specified in the complaint in which Arab Bank allegedly facilitated money transfers to the relatives of Hamas terrorists. One was the October 2003 case of John Linde Jr., murdered with two other security officers while escorting US diplomats to interview Palestinian Arab candidates for Fulbright Scholarships. The three were killed by an IED (improvised explosive device, also known as a ‘homemade bomb’) in northern Gaza. A second involved 3-year-old Tehilla Nathansen, killed while sitting on her mother’s lap when terrorists blew up the No. 2 bus in Jerusalem in August 2003. A third child, 8th grader Jacob Mandell, was killed in a hail of rocks hurled by attacking Palestinian Arabs along with another friend while hiking in May 2001. And so on.

Hana Levi Julian

A Nation in Unity on Yom HaZikaron, Israel’s Remembrance Day

Monday, May 5th, 2014

Israel’s flag is waving at half mast and the memory of 23,169 lost Israeli soldiers and victims of terror has quieted the nation on Yom HaZikaron, Israel’s Remembrance Day.

No music plays in the neighborhoods, and children are not laughing today on the streets. A somber air is felt throughout the country as Israelis remember their fallen.

Some of those are not even Jewish. They are Bedouin or Druze or Circassians who have thrown in their lot with their Jewish neighbors. They, too, have paid the price.

Few indeed are those in this country who have not lost at least one family member in military action or terror, or are not close to someone who has, in the struggle to fulfill the mitzvah to hold this Holy Land, Eretz Tzion, Israel.

By age 16, all Jewish teens in Israel receive their first IDF notice, summoning them for exams to determine a medical, educational and psychological fitness profile. The IDF recently announced it will soon begin to send voluntary draft notices to all Christian Israelis, offering them the chance to enlist in Israel’s army as well.

By 18, most boys and girls in this country are smiling and nervously getting into fitted green or camel-colored uniforms, queuing up at central bus stations before and after Shabbat and talking about what happened in their new units “at the base.”

They’re babies, really — babies learning how to face killers; other babies fed on evil hatred since birth. Last year, 40 died, though some of those were reservists, IDF soldiers who return to serve 30 days a year to help the “newbies” and the career soldiers keep Israel safe from its enemies. “Reservists” can be soldiers in their 20s — or as old as 40.

“It is difficult, if not impossible, to show those that haven’t experienced it the size of the grief that befell us, the intensity of the shock that grasps us, and the sense of loss that fills us,” Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu explained at Monday’s ceremony at Mount Herzl military cemetery, attended also by President Shimon Peres, IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz and a host of other officials.

Paraphrasing and slightly changing a well-known Psalm of King David, he said, “There, we sat at the graves of our loved ones, and wept, and we remembered our loved ones that fell for the sake of Zion.”

Sweeping the entire People of Israel into unity with Israel’s grief over its fallen, the prime minister said, “On this day, the entire people relates to the heroes of the nation. They come from all parts of the nation and from all parts of society. The simple truth that is the most concise is this: we would not be here if it were not for their sacrifice.

“Even if it means unparalleled pain, a great miracle happened here. Israel returned to her country, to her home, established a state and did wonders, but at this moment we should not forget that it is a privilege to be here.”

People came to their feet across the country as a siren wailed into the skies at 11 o’clock in the morning, reminding Israelis of the price paid for peace, and Israel’s defense.

A candle lighting ceremony at the Western Wall last night, announced by the nationwide siren at eight o’clock in the evening, also featured an address by President Peres.

“We, the Israelis, are not like every people,” the president pointed out. “Already for years a sad generation hasn’t relaxed, hasn’t been able to enjoy a time of happiness. Our joy is always missing. A cloud of sadness envelops us. It is deeply hidden, but one can see it in our eyes.”

The president spoke of parents who lost their children, “the image of the soldiers that fell in Israel’s wars… They did not have time to plant a tree. They didn’t taste the full flavor of love. They left behind you, the bereaved families… and us, the friends, to painfully remember.”

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/a-nation-in-unity-on-yom-hazikaron-israels-remembrance-day/2014/05/05/

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