Tuesday, February 12, 2008

None Dare Call It Murder

Just how far will Condi Rice and the US State Department go to excuse Palestinian terrorism? We may soon find out.

Blogpal Soccer Dad has an outrageous story on the Palestinian Authority's attempts to use the US government to shield it from court judgements resulting from murders it sponsored of US citizens.

According to the Washington Post, our State Department is actually considering supporting the Palestinian Authority in avoiding paying hundreds of millions of dollars in judgments won by American victims in US courts for Palestinian terrorist attacks in Israel.

Testimony in both US and Israeli courts has provided clear evidence connected the Palestinian Authority to the attacks in question, and they are actionable under a US law passed by Congress in 1990 after the murder of wheel chair- bound Leon Klinghoffer by Palestinian terrorists who seized the Achille Lauro cruise ship.That murder, by the way, was one of many that was directly ordered by Arafat, and tapes exist of ship to shore communications between Arafat and the leader of the hijackers Muhammad Zayden, AKA Abu Abbas to prove it.

One of the victims who successfully sued the Palestinian Authority is Leslye Knox, the mother of six children and the widow of Aharon Ellis,(z"l) a U.S. citizen who was killed in 2002 while singing at a bar mitzvah in Hadera, Israel. In 2006, she won a judgement in federal court and the PLO and the Palestinian Authority were ordered to to pay Knox and other Ellis relatives nearly $174 million. So far, they're still waiting to collect.

Another case was brought by the orphaned children of Yaron Ungar,(z"l) a U.S. citizen killed in Israel in a 1996 terrorist attack. Ungar's relatives were awarded $116 million, which the Palestinian Authority has not paid a penny on to date.

And these cases are only the tip of the iceberg.

The original rationale for the Palestinians to avoid paying and drag things out in court was an argument that they had sovereign immunity, meaning that as a state they were beyond the reach of the American legal system. Their lawyer at that time was Ramsey Clark. Unfortunately for the Palestinians, US courts totally rejected those arguments on the grounds that Palestine was not a state, with the US Supreme Court declining to hear the case.

At that point, about $200,000 in two of the PLO mission's bank accounts were frozen and later another account for more than $100 million was frozen by the courts. At that point, Arafat II Mahmoud Abbas wrote to US Secretary of State Condi Rice in November 2006 and asked her to intervene.

The new line from the Palestinians is that the lawsuits are going to bankrupt the Palestinian Authority and derail that wonderful peace process.

At the time, Rice correctly wrote to Abbas that that the Ungar case had gone all the way to the Supreme Court, which declined to review it, so "the judgment is final and enforceable in United States courts." She suggested that the Palestinian Authority explore "out of court solutions so as to avoid enforcement actions."

But of course, that was before Annapolis.And the story may have changed.

"With a new set of lawyers -- Richard A. Hibey and Mark J. Rochon of the Washington firm Miller & Chevalier -- the Palestinian Authority last year said the Knox judgment should be nullified because the authority was now prepared to litigate the case and offer a vigorous defense. Citing Rice's letter to Abbas, the new legal team urged U.S. District Court Judge Victor Marrero to request a "statement of interest" from State because of the "international ramifications."

"The judgment's potential interference with American foreign policy presents a unique and exceptional circumstance justifying relief from a default judgment," the lawyers argued.

Marrero in December issued an order asking whether the United States contemplated issuing a statement of interest in the case. He gave the government 45 days to respond, but at the government's request, he recently extended the deadline until the end of February."

The entire legal reasoning here is farcical. The Palestinians have been in court for years fighting this and took it all the way to the Supreme Court and that somehow doesn't constitute ` a vigorous defense?'

According to Afif Safieh, head of the PLO Mission in Washington DC "There has been a rethinking in the State Department that I wholeheartedly welcome." He was quoted as calling the lawsuits "politically and ideologically motivated to drive the Palestinian Authority into bankruptcy."

By that, I presume he means financial rather than moral bankruptcy. Although, as regular members of Joshua's Army know, the PA is far from destitute.

Nevertheless, the decision is Washington's now.

Will the Bush Administration choose to support compensation for victims of terrorism or will they rule against their own citizens in favor of a terrorist entity?

How would you feel if Aharon Ellis and Yaron Ungar were your deceased loved ones?

The WAPO article quoted David J. Strachman, the Rhode Island lawyer representing many of the plaintiffs in the lawsuits as saying "If the State Department tips the scales of justice against the victims in order to support adjudicated terrorists, the war on terrorism will be seen throughout the world as a farce."

I can't wait to find out which way this goes.

Most Important: E-mail your Congressmen and use the White House Comment line at (202) 395-0805

And by the way, here's the contact information for Miller & Chevalier:

inquiries@milchev.com <inquiries@milchev.com>

Washington, DC
655 Fifteenth Street, N.W.
Suite 900
Washington, DC 20005-5701

Phone: 202-626-5800
Fax: 202-626-5801

Members of Joshua's Army are cordially invited to let these scum know what you think of them representing a bunch of terrorist murderers against their own countrymen and trying to defraud widows and orphans out of their lawful compensation. Just keep it civil.

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