Posts

Landmark Victory In New York Federal Court for U.S. Victims of Palestinian Terror

Credit Nitsana Darshan -Leitner of Shurat HaDin (Israel Law Center) and US co-counsel for today’s verdict award by Federal Judge Daniels in a case brought against the Palestinian Authority arising from terrorist funding activities during the Second Intifada fomented  by the late Yassir Arafat of the Palestinian Authority and the PLO. Newsweek reported:

In the first ruling of its kind, a U.S. court has found the Palestinian Authority and Palestine Liberation Organization liable for damages suffered by 10 American families whose relatives were injured or killed in attacks in Israel.

The six shootings and bomb attacks in question took place between 2002 and 2004, during the second intifada, or uprising, killing 33 and wounding more than 450. The lawsuit was filed in 2004 and was tried in the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of New York.

“This historic verdict against the defendants will not bring back these families’ loved ones nor heal the physical and psychological wounds inflicted upon them but it truly is an important measure of justice and closure for them after their long years of tragic suffering and pain,” Israel-based law office Shurat HaDin, which worked on the case, said in a statement after the verdict on Monday.

The plaintiffs argued that the two organizations supported the attacks—whether via direct involvement or assistance in the form of material support or training. They also allegedly paid those who carried out the attacks and continue to compensate perpetrators who were imprisoned as well as the families of those who died.

Since the plaintiffs are all U.S. citizens, the case was tried in the country under the Antiterrorism Act signed into law by then President Bill Clinton in 1996, which gives American courts jurisdiction over acts of terrorism that harm U.S. citizens abroad.

“We are truly grateful that an American court has heard the evidence against the Palestinian Authority and the PLO and determined that suicide terrorism was indeed their official policy during the Second Intifada,” said the statement from Shurat HaDin sent in an email to Newsweek. It continued:

We started out more than a decade ago with the intent of making the defendants pay for their terrorist crimes against innocent civilians and letting them know that there will eventually be a price to be paid for sending suicide bombers onto our buses and into our cafes. The defendants have already been boasting that they will appeal the decision and we will never collect on the judgment. We will not allow them to make a mockery of the US court process, however, and we continue to pursue them until it is paid in full. If the PA and PLO have the funds to pay the families of the suicide bombers each month, then they have the money to pay these victims of Palestinian terrorism.

The New York Times Breaking News report places both incumbent President Mahmoud Abbas and the Administration in a quandary, as the Netanyahu government has withheld $100 million in monthly tax revenue remittances used to fund the PA operations  because of the latter pursuit of claims of war crimes brought before the International Criminal Court at The Hague in the Netherlands. Perhaps the award of $218.5 million might be paid as compensation to Israeli and US victims of Palestinian terrorism from those taxation remittances witheld by Israel.  Kol Hakavod to Ms. Leitner and the team at Shurat HaDinand US co-counsel. Their motto is: “Bankrupting Terrrorism, One Law Suit at a Time.”

Below is the New York Times report:

Jury Awards $218.5 Million in Terrorism Case Against Palestinian Groups

The Palestinian Authority and the Palestine Liberation Organization were found liable on Monday by a jury in Manhattan for their role in knowingly supporting six terrorist attacks in Israel between 2002 and 2004 in which Americans were killed and injured.

The jury in Federal District Court in Manhattan awarded $218.5 million in damages, a number that is automatically tripled to $655.5 million under the special terrorism law under which the case was brought.

The verdict ended a decade-long legal battle to hold the Palestinian organizations responsible for the terrorist acts. And while the decision was a huge victory for the dozens of plaintiffs, it also could serve to strengthen the Israeli claim that the supposedly more moderate Palestinian forces are directly tied to terrorism.

The financial implications of the verdict for the defendants were not immediately clear. The Palestinian Authority, led by Mahmoud Abbas, had serious financial troubles even before Israel, as punishment for the Palestinians’ move in December to join the International Criminal Court, began withholding more than $100 million a month in tax revenue it collects on the Palestinians’ behalf.

The verdict came in the seventh week of a civil trial in which the jury had heard emotional testimony from survivors of suicide bombings and other attacks in Jerusalem, in which a total of 33 people were killed and more than 450 were injured.

READ MORE »

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review.

Israel is not ‘sightless’ in Gaza

download

Destroyed home of Mohammed Deif in Gaza city, August 20, 2014. Source: AFP

Yesterday in Jerusalem, with visiting American Congressman Darrell  Issa (R-CA) at his side, Israeli PM Netanyahu heaped considerable praise on Shin Bet-Israel’s General Security Service – for the targeted  killings of senior Hamas commanders in Rafah. The International Business Times(IBT) quoted Netanyahu saying:

The “hard work and professionalism” of Shin Bet had enabled the Israeli military to “carry out this operation against the Hamas leaders who plotted fatal attacks against Israelis,” Netanyahu reportedly said, referring to pre-dawn air strikes in Rafah that killed the three Hamas commanders.

“In the name of every Israeli citizen, I thank the Shin Bet, the heads of the intelligence and operational units, and the chief of the organization, Yoram Cohen,” he said, according to Ha’aretz. Meanwhile, the Israeli military said that it had killed six militants of the Islamic Jihad — a Palestinian Islamist organization — as they were “about to launch rockets into Israel.”

Possibly in retaliation, today, Hamas,  publicly executed 18 ‘collaborators’. These public executions come in the midst of a rising wave of ‘collaborator’ executions in the terrorist stronghold of Gaza.  Israel National News  reported a series of such reprisals in an article, “Hamas Goes on an ‘Israel Collaborator’ Killing Spree”:

Majd, a website close to Hamas, on Thursday reported that Hamas’s military wing,the Al-Qassam Brigades, executed three Gaza residents and arrested seven others for ‘collaborating’ with Israel during Operation Protective Edge.

No date was given for the executions or arrests, but the Hamas security official quoted in the report said the three were killed after “revolutionary procedures” were completed against them.

The same website reported on August 6 that “a number” of Arab collaborators had been killed, again without giving a date.

In the last week of July, Palestinian sources reported that over 30 Gazans were executed by Hamas, most of them in the Shejaiya neighborhood. In that case too, Hamas claimed that they were collaborators with Israel.

The Times of Israel reported a revelation by a Lebanese publication that a phone call between Hamas leader Khalid Mashal in Qatar and  Mohammed Deif, the elusive  head of the Hamas military wing, may have  provided Israel with intelligence that sealed the fate of both he and his family.  According to the TOI  Mashal may have broken protocol to discuss a possible cease fire with Israel. The Deif residence in Gaza was hit with several bunker buster bombs which  cratered  the structure. That resulted  in a massive funeral purportedly for Deif’s wife and children. Hamas spokesman persist in conveying the impression that Deif escaped the fatal attack, and yet have not provided any proof of life.  That attack signifies, as one source told me, that the IAF is flying missions with small bunker buster bombs, in just such a  instance to make  an instantaneous attack.

MohammedDeif

Mohammed Deif, Hamas military leader.

A report by the Shaham Palestinian news service published a picture of Deif along with this statement:

“The bodies arrived at the Shifa hospital in Gaza City, after the occupation planes attacked the al-Dalo home, in the Rimal neighborhood in the north, in Gaza City, last night,” the report said. “The document we obtained was confiscated by an armed squad of the Al-Qassam brigade from Shifa’s archive, and also changed the check-in information in the hospital to erase Deif’s name from the list.”

“We at Saham News are forced to tell the Palestinian nation, with great sadness, of the death of Deif,” it concluded. “We belong to Allah, and to him we return.”

Shin Bet is also to be credited for its role in uncovering  the Hamas  power play against Fatah in the West Bank with funds  and arms caches. Many observers believe this may have been a key part of the Rosh Ha Shanah attack plan by Hamas that included infiltration of suicide commandos through  the terror tunnels dug across the frontier between Gaza and Israel. The joint IDF-Shin Bet Operation Brother’s Keeper that detained hundreds of Hamas operatives in the search  for three murdered Jewish Yeshiva students may have provided the intelligence resulting in disclosures of the thwarted plot. Senior Hamas representative ensconced in Turkey, Salah al-Aruri,  announced his role in orchestrating the kidnapping and murder of three Jewish yeshiva students. The Jerusalem Post reported:

SalahalAruri

Hamas Military leader in Turkey, Salah al-Aruri.

A senior Hamas official admitted for the first time on Wednesday that the organization’s armed wing, the Kassam Brigades, was behind the kidnapping and murder of Israeli teens Naftali Fraenkel, Gil-Ad Shaer and Eyal Yifrah in the West Bank in June, Channel 2 reported.

The Hamas official, Salah al-Aruri made the comments during a conference of Islamic clerics in Turkey. He praised the “heroic action of the Kassam Brigades who kidnapped three settlers in Hebron.”

Israeli lawyer, Nitsana Darshan Leitner of Shurat ha Din (Israel Law Center) asked US Attorney  General Eric Holder to invoke the extradition treaties between the US and Turkey to bring to justice al-Aruri for the murder of Israeli-American, Fraenkel.  Meanwhile, PA President Abbas is reported to have had heated conversations in Doha, Qatar with Mashal triggered by Hamas’ plans to overthrow Fatah . Further, there are indications that pressure  is building  on the Emir of Qatar, Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, to eject Mashal from his luxurious palace in Doha.  Qatar has been a major funder of Hamas, supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood and  ISIS, along with Erdogan’s Turkey. If that eventuated Mashal might then be subject to apprehension and possible trial in Egypt. Lest we forget, PM Netanyahu was caught in an embarrassing position in 1998, when an attempted assassination of Mashal by Mossad agents was disclosed by the late King Hussein of Jordan.  Mashal also could have been taken out, while a resident in Damascus, before his departure for Qatar at the start of the Syrian Civil War in 2011. Witness the Mossad assassination in February 2008 of Hezbollah terrorist mastermind, Imad Mughniyeh.

Whether it is human intelligence through cultivation of assets, or ELINT ears and eyes in the skies over Gaza, these targeted assassination episodes by the IDF with assistance from Shin bet have succeeded in decimating  the military leadership of Hamas. These actions clearly indicate that unlike the Biblical Shimshon, Samson the Nazerite, Israel is not ‘sightless’ in Gaza.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review.