Bodies are taken away following an explosion at the cafeteria of Jerusalem’s Hebrew University on July 31, 2002. Hamas took responsibility for the bombing, which killed seven people and wounded 70, but a new U.S. federal court ruling found the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestinian Authority liable for that attack and other committed during the second intifada. (photo from Flash90)
A New York City-based federal jury on Monday ordered the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the Palestinian Authority (PA) to pay $218.5 million in reparations to American citizens who were targeted by terror attacks in Jerusalem, and to the victims’ families. The ruling is seen as a major victory for those seeking to hold so-called moderate Palestinian factions accountable for terrorism.
The court ruled in favor of 10 American families who sued the PLO and PA for six different terrorist attacks that were linked to those groups during the second Palestinian intifada. Thirty-three people were killed in those six attacks between 2002 and 2004, and 450 were injured. Since the lawsuit was filed in a U.S. court under the Anti-Terrorism Act, the reparation amount is expected to triple to $655.5 million.
Among the families involved in the landmark ruling were representatives of four victims of a Hebrew University cafeteria attack in 2002, in addition to Palestinian shooting attacks and suicide bombings that took place between 2002 and 2004 in Jerusalem.
The plaintiffs won the case after a 10-year legal battle in which the defence claimed that the PLO and the PA were not directly responsible for the attacks, which were carried out by the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade and Hamas. The verdict is likely to bolster Israel’s longstanding claim that Palestinian factions such as Mahmoud Abbas’ PA – which many in the West consider to be more moderate than Hamas – support terrorism.
“The PA and the PLO and the Fatah faction were all involved in terrorism during the second intifada,” said Jonathan Schanzer, vice-president for research at the Foundation for Defence of Democracies and a former terrorism finance analyst at the U.S. Department of the Treasury. “Abbas reined in those groups and has done a reasonably good job of preventing their resurgence. But the sins of his predecessor, Yasser Arafat, continue to haunt him. And now it looks as if it will cost him, as well.”
Read more at jns.org.