HISTORIC US TERROR VERDICT CHARGES PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY WITH OVER 655 MILLION IN DAMAGES

Jerusalem Post on February 23, 2015, reported that a US jury handed down an historic verdict against the Palestinian Authority for involvement in six terrorist attacks from the time of the second intifada, pummeling it with a $655.5 million judgment in wrongful death damages. Excerpts below:

The $655.5m. sum was based on a tripling penalty of the actual $218.5m. verdict under the anti-terrorism laws governing the case.

The suit, brought forward by 10 American families who lost relatives in the terrorist attacks, featured a host of all-star witnesses, including top PLO official Hanan Ashrawi, former top IDF intelligence and military prosecution officials, and the current head of the PA’s “CIA.”

It also featured heart-wrenching testimony from the families of victims, like Chana Goldberg, who brought the jury to tears talking about the breakdown of her family following the murder of her father, Scott.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman said the verdict is first and foremost a moral victory for Israel and victims of terrorism.

“The court’s decision confirms what anyone who is familiar with the events in Israel in the beginning of the 2000s knows, but many in the world did not want to admit because of hypocrisy, foreign interests, or pure anti-Semitism,” he stated.

Liberman called the verdict a “wake-up call” for the Palestinians and their supporters around the world, who he said should now realize that terrorism is an integral part of the Palestinian Authority’s makeup.

The plaintiffs argued that a large volume of PA employees, including policemen and commanders, were previously convicted by Israel for having part in terrorist attacks in Israel, including the six attacks from 2001 to 2004, and should therefore be found guilty in the civil case in New York.

Thirty-three people were murdered in these attacks, and hundreds were wounded.

The plaintiffs’ lead trial lawyer, Kent Yalowitz of Arnold & Porter, said, “The message is clear. If you kill or injure Americans overseas, you can expect the long arm of American law to follow you and bring you to justice. Justice includes justice against those who send terrorists.”

Yalowitz continued: “The Palestinian Authority and the PLO have been found liable by an American jury for six heinous terrorist attacks that killed and injured hundreds of civilians.”

The plaintiffs said they had “proven to the court that the systematic suicide bombings and shootings were perpetrated pursuant to [PLO leader] Yasser Arafat’s official policy of unleashing criminal violence against civilians in Israel.”

Going forward, Yalowitz said, “The PA and PLO policies of financial inducements and rewards for terrorism that are at the center of this case unfortunately continue today, more than a decade later.”

“I am truly privileged to have had the opportunity to represent these amazing families and join them in their quest for justice against those who have devastated their lives forever,” Yalowitz concluded.

Almost every significant legal issue, including introducing IDF court judgments into evidence, which was not a given, went in the plaintiffs’ direction.

Yalowitz declared that the PA “didn’t have to pay terrorists if it didn’t want to.”

He referred to the Anti-Terrorism Act that was the basis of the civil damages case as created to hit “those who send terrorists where it hurts most – the wallet.”

Yalowitz also addressed the PA claim that it is a separate entity than the PLO, and that they could not be held liable for each other’s actions.

“If you’re a beat cop walking the streets,” Yalowitz said, “You fairly represent the NYPD.”

Yalowitz continued, “If you have a policy that says: If you commit a terrorist act, you keep your job,” get a promotion, and get paid while you’re in jail, “that says something about who you are and what you believe in.”

Regarding whether the PA’s support for the six terrorist attacks met the legal definition of “material support,” Yalowitz said that “the biggest support you can give is money and personnel and these guys gave both.”

The judgment comes around half a year after the first anti-terrorism civil judgment of similar caliber rendered against Jordan’s giant Arab Bank last September.

That case still awaits a trial to set the damages amount, currently set for mid-May.

Lahav Harkov contributed to this report.

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