Monday, February 23, 2015

Justice: US Jury Awards Terror Victims $218M From PLO

Palestinian President Abbas (Photo: AFP)

Justice delayed, but justice at last.

An American jury ordered the Palestine Liberation Organization and The Palestinian Authority as co-defendants to pay $218 million in damages for PA and PLO funding and abetting terrorist attacks in Jerusalem that killed and gravely injured American citizens.

The trial, which took place in federal court in Manhattan found in favor of 10 American families suing over six attacks attributed to the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades (Fatah) and Hamas. The award might be tripled under the US Anti-Terrorism Act:

"Now the PLO and the PA know there is a price for supporting terrorism," said Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, in an interview after the verdict. [...]

Victims and their families had requested more than $350 million, or over $1 billion after tripling, over shootings and bombings from 2002 to 2004 that killed 33 people and injured over 450.

In closing arguments, plaintiff attorney Kent Yalowitz had urged the Manhattan jury to order the PLO and Palestinian Authority to pay $350 million for providing material support to terrorists involved in six bombings and shootings from 2002 to 2004.

No amount could make up for the human toll, he said. "But if the only thing you can give them is money, then money has to stand in as compensation for the unspeakable loss," he added.

The PLO's lawyers, of course, stated that their clients wouldn't even hurt a Jewish bunny rabbit, and that these 'radicals' (whom the PLO is paying salaries to,using as heroic role models, lionizing in their mosques, schools and media and naming public buildings after) did what they did for their own reasons.

They will of course appeal, but this is still a landmark verdict. Hopefully these damages could be collected by going after the $2 billion Palestine Investment Fund(PIF) Fatah's slush fund created using stolen donor funds, the personal assets of the PLO and PA official involved or subtracted from any aid given to 'Palestine.'

Throughout the trial, US District Judge George Daniels in Manhattan largely denied bids by the Palestinian Authority and the PLO to dismiss the long-running lawsuit. At a court hearing in December, Daniels also reaffirmed his decision in 2008 finding that his court had jurisdiction over claims against the Palestinian Authority and PLO despite changes in law at the appellate level.

The Sokolow family, the lead plaintiff in the trial, testified three weeks ago; a January 2002 bombing injured Jamie Sokolow, her sister Lauren, her mother Rena and her father Mark, all of whom testified.

Adding some unintentional comedy to the proceedings was the despicable Hannan Ashrawi, a member of the PLO's executive committee. According to her testimony - wait for it - Yasser Arafat worked very hard with US and Israeli officials to combat terrorism.

I'm sure the judge had to bang his gavel to restore order after the bitter laughter that undoubtedly broke out after that disgraceful lie.

Kol Hakavod to Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, Kent Yalowitz and the rest of their team whom won an important victory for human decency and justice today.

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