On Wednesday, Nov. 4, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) chaired a hearing of the Judiciary’s Subcommittee on Oversight, Agency Action, Federal Rights and Federal Courts titled “Justice Forsaken: How the Federal Government Fails the American Victims of Iranian and Palestinian Terrorism.”
This hearing focused on the federal government’s failure to support the American victims of Islamic terror in their search for justice.
“The history of Palestinian and Iranian terrorism against Americans is extensive and continues to this day. Americans have long been the targets of Palestinian hijackings, suicide bombings, and assassinations, in part because of our nation’s close relationship and friendship with Israel,” Sen. Cruz said.
“In litigation, the Administration sides with the terrorist against American citizens, and when negotiating with the Ayatollah Khamenei, the Administration ignores American hostages languishing in Iranian prisons; it ignores the victims of terrorism. That is a national disgrace.”
In his opening statement, Sen. Cruz spoke about various American victims of terrorism and the struggle they have endured not only to seek justice from the terrorists who attacked them, but from their own government which has worked against them in those struggles.
Senator Cruz talked about 12-year-old Jamie Sokolow who, nearly 15 years ago, lay bleeding and shattered on a Jerusalem street. Just moments before a blast from a Palestinian Arab suicide bomber, Jamie had been chatting with her family outside a shoe store.
“And then a Palestinian suicide bomber struck, sending shrapnel into Jamie’s right eye and blood across her face. Jamie’s whole family was wounded, including her father, a 9/11 survivor. Nearby, a bone was sticking out of her mother’s leg. Even worse, a woman’s severed head lay just a few feet away. Still, Jamie kept courageously repeating: ‘I’m 12 years old, I’m from New York, and I’m going to stay alive.’
“Today’s hearing is for Americans like Jamie, like the Sokolow family — Americans who have suffered greatly because of the horrific and evil actions of Iranian and Palestinian terrorists. Americans who have fought hard to ensure that justice is done in these situations, only to see their own Government, more often than not, stand against them,” said Cruz.
One of the lawyers who represented Jamie’s family and ten other terror victim families in litigation against the Palestinian Liberation Army and the Palestinian Authority testified.
Kent Yalowitz of Arnold & Porter filed a lawsuit ten years ago in a U.S. federal court in New York. Earlier this year, Yalowitz’s clients won an historic victory in court.
Yalowitz described the terrorists who assaulted, battered, bludgeoned and maimed his clients:
Many of the terrorists responsible were so-called ‘security’ officers of the Palestinian Authority. Those employees—and hundreds of others—were caught, tried, convicted, and sentenced for murder, attempted murder, and other crimes.
Today, many of them sit in jail in Israel. Far from disowning these terrorists, the PA and PLO have kept them on the payroll and promoted them.
Internal PA and PLO documents, which we introduced in evidence in court, reflect these organizations’ approval of the conduct of the terrorists and even characterize the terrorists’ heinous crimes as part of ‘their fight for their country.’ These are current policies of the PA and the PLO.
And yet, as Yalowitz testified, the U.S. government, represented by the Justice Department, never lifted a finger to help its citizens. While the PLO and the PA paid for the best lawyers money could buy to represent the murderers, the American government did nothing. Nothing, that is, until the lawyers representing the victims persuaded the jury that justice required the terrorists to pay their victims. The jury awarded the victims $655.5 million in damages.
Once the clients were victorious in court, the U.S. government stepped in. To help? No. It sided instead with the PLO and the PA and asked the court not to require the defendants to file a bond – as is commonly the case – while they filed an appeal.