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.