There is at best one degree of separation between the Palestinian Authority or the PLO and the terrorist attacks carried out in Israel by Palestinian Arabs. A federal jury in Manhattan returned a verdict against the PA/PLO in favor of American plaintiffs injured as a result of terrorist attacks carried out in Israel between between 2002 and 2004. The New York Times reports:
The Palestinian Authority and the Palestine Liberation Organization were found liable on Monday by a jury in Manhattan for their role in knowingly supporting six terrorist attacks in Israel between 2002 and 2004 in which Americans were killed and injured.
The damages are to be $655.5 million, under a special terrorism law that provides for tripling the $218.5 million awarded by the jury in Federal District Court.
The verdict ended a decade-long legal battle to hold the Palestinian organizations responsible for the terrorist acts. While the decision was a huge victory for the dozens of plaintiffs, it could also serve to strengthen Israel’s claim that the supposedly more moderate Palestinian forces were directly linked to terrorism.
A little deeper into the story the Times continues:
The case was brought under the Anti-Terrorism Act, which allows American citizens who are victims of international terrorism to sue in the United States courts. The law was used in September by a Brooklyn jury to find Arab Bank liable for supporting terrorism by Hamas. Damages in that case, filed by about 300 victims of 24 terrorist attacks, are to be decided in a second trial, which has not yet been held.
In the Palestinian case, the plaintiffs included 10 families, comprising about three dozen members, eight of whom were physically injured in the attacks while the others were left with deep psychological scars, testimony showed.
The plaintiffs also included the estates of four victims who had been killed in the attacks, which occurred on the street and at a crowded bus stop, inside a bus, and in a cafeteria on the campus of Hebrew University.
“It was a terrible thing to see,” one plaintiff, Robert Coulter Sr., 78, testified as he described watching a news report about the cafeteria bombing and realizing his 36-year-old daughter, a New Yorker on a business trip, was one of the victims.
“They brought a body bag out on the TV station, right on it, and went right down to where she was laying and I knew it was a girl, had blond hair,” Mr. Coulter recalled. “I said, ‘Oh, my goodness, that’s Janis.’”
The defense had argued that their clients had nothing to do with the attacks. Mark J. Rochon, a defense lawyer, told the jury on Thursday that he did not want “the bad guys, the killers, the people who did this to get away while the Palestinian Authority or the P.L.O. pay for something they did not do.”
Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the P.L.O.’s executive committee who testified for the defense, told the jury, “We tried to prevent violence from all sides.”
But citing testimony, payroll records and other documents, the plaintiffs showed that many of those involved in the planning and carrying out of the attacks had been employees of the Palestinian Authority, and that the authority had paid salaries to terrorists imprisoned in Israel and had made martyr payments to the families of suicide bombers.
Evidence can really be a bitch. It’s almost enough to make you wonder what the hell we’re doing supporting the Palestinian Authority with American tax dollars. It’s almost enough to make you wonder why President Obama insists on the creation of a Palestinian state on the structure of the Palestinian Authority.