Shurat HaDin Lawsuit Finds Palestinian Authority & PLO Liable for Second Intifada Terror Attacks
In a ruling being hailed as “historic”, the Jerusalem District Court has found the Palestinian Authority (PA) and PLO liable for 17 terrorist attacks carried out in the course of the Second Intifada wave of bombings. The civil action, filed in 2000 by the Shurat Hadin Law Center, alleged that the attacks targeting Israel’s civilian population were not a spontaneous uprising by Palestinians disillusioned over the Oslo Accords’ negotiations as the PLO and Europeans long claimed, but rather a calculated and planned war of terrorist violence whose goal was to kill as many innocent Jews as possible.
The precedent setting decision has established that the terrorist organizations perpetrating the attacks, the Martyrs of al-Aqsa, Hamas, the PLO and Islamic Jihad were all being directed and financed by deceased Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and his terrorist underlings in an effort to force Israel into political concessions that Palestinians could not win through negotiations. Arafat received the Noble Peace Prize in 1994 along with Israeli leaders for his signing of the Oslo Accords.
The case, which was litigated over 19 years by Shurat HaDin had over 150 plaintiffs, required more than 100 court appearances and the submission of tens of thousands of documents and expert reports detailing the Palestinian leadership’s involvement in aiding and abetting the murderous attacks. In the ruling, Vice-President of the Jerusalem Court, Judge Moshe Drori, found the PA and PLO responsible for 17 specific terror attacks, including the Ramallah Lynch tragedy in which two Israeli soldiers were arrested and brutally beaten to death by Palestinian policemen.
The 1200 page long decision noted that the Palestinian leadership not only paid the imprisoned terrorists’ salaries each month and provided stipends to the families of the suicide bombers but also publicly boasted about its responsibility for the attacks, named streets and public squares after the terrorist masterminds and glorified each and every bombing. It held that the PA and PLO carried culpability for the “financial and practical support” as well as ideological encouragement for the attacks.
Having established the defendants’ liability for the violence, the Judge, must now assess the damages suffered by each individual claimant and issue the court’s awards. The ruling could force the Palestinians to compensate the families for as much as one billion shekels ($279 million) in damages.
According to Shurat HaDin President Nitsana Darshan-Leitner: “We litigated this case for the families for almost two decades and finally won. This is a historic victory, these were the first cases filed against the Palestinian Authority by Israelis, they were unprecedented and our Law Center plunged into unchartered legal waters. Our claim from the outset was that the Palestinian Authority is a terrorist entity that promotes and encourages murderous attacks and indeed Judge Drori found it responsible for the heinous massacres carried out by terrorist organizations such as the PLO, Hamas, and Islamic Jihad. The ruling eastablished that what Arafat did not achieve through the Oslo Accords, he tried to secure through suicide bombings and shootings. The Palestinian’s goal was clearly genocide against Jews in Israel, and for that they will now pay dearly. We intend to translate and submit the judgment to the European Union, the United Nations and the International Criminal Court.”