Edge of Terrorism
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|Juda Engelmayer||February 23rd 2015|
Cutting Edge News Contributor
|PA head Mahmoud Abbas against backdrop of Yasser Arafat|
The Palestinian Authority and the Palestine Liberation Organization are now being held accountable to a group of terrorism victims as a result of a lawsuit that was decided today. More than $600 million in damages was awarded in Sokolow v. PLO, (04-cv-003970) whihc was tried in U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, in Manhattan.
The outcome marks the first time that the Palestinian Authority has been made liable for acts of terror. During the six week trial, internal PA documents that detailed payments to terrorists held in Israeli prisons, and to the families of terrorists killed while carrying out attacks were shown to jurors.
The PLO's defense attorney Mark Rochon kept claiming that the terrorists acted on their own, and that payments to the families were meant to provide support for those suddenly left without the breadwinnerâ€™s income and not as a reward.
â€œSometimes people who do terrible things work for the government,â€ Rochon said, but â€œthings they did for their own reasons.â€ The jury did not find that to be the case.
As Edwin Black's book Financing the Flames demonstrated, the Palestinians had a policy of encouraging acts of terror against Jews and Israel, and would award more money for bigger acts and more 'kills'. This evidence was critical to the outcome of the trial.
Shurat HaDin (The Israel LAW Center), lead by Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, organized with Kent Yalowitz of Arnold & Porter tried this case.