Wednesday, February 25, 2015

25-Feb-15: A step closer to making the PA unable to keep funding its terror addiction

Aftermath of a January 27, 2002 human bomb attack on central Jerusalem's
Jaffa Road, directly across the street from the Sbarro pizzeria,
[Image Source]
Many readers will already know about the major legal victory ["Palestinian Groups Are Found Liable at Manhattan Terror Trial"] achieved on Monday when the Palestinian Authority and the Palestine Liberation Organization were found liable by a jury in Federal District Court, Manhattan, for the roles they played in knowingly supporting six terror attacks in the Jerusalem, Israel, area between 2002 and 2004.

A relevant terrorism law provides for the automatic tripling of the $218.5 million damages awarded by the jury. (The plaintiffs’ attorney sought an order of $350 million.) So the defendants are ordered to pay $655.5 million. According to the New York Times report,
In at least two previous cases, in which judges entered default judgments against them for more than $100 million, the groups reached confidential settlements, court records show.
So there's some history of extracting money from them. Lawyers for the plaintiffs say that if the Palestinian Arab entities fail to pay, the groups’ assets can be seized in the United States and elsewhere.

This case was filed by the plaintiffs in 2004. A decade is a long time for a case to run its course, but the likelihood is there will be still more delays before the court-ordered damages are collected. To no one's great surprise, the PA have said they will appeal. Mahmoud Khalifa, their deputy minister of information, says the PA are
"confident that we will prevail, as we have faith in the U.S. legal system and are certain about our common sense belief and our strong legal standing. This case is just the latest attempt by hard-line antipeace factions in Israel to use and abuse the U.S. legal system to advance their narrow political and ideological agenda..." [New York Times]
But meanwhile, it's clear that several things of enduring importance have been achieved. In the words of the NYT report
While the decision on Monday 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.
Does the word claim really belong in that last sentence? A jury and a judge sat listening to testimony and evaluating piles of evidence for nearly seven weeks. In the end, they found they had a solid basis for deciding and so they handed down a resounding verdict. The evidence made it impossible to ignore, and the political spinmeisters with their pretentious circumlocutions ("violent extremism" is an egregious example) are not allowed into the court.

The plaintiffs are 10 families, about three dozen people. Eight individual plaintiffs had been physically injured in the attacks; many of the others were "left with deep psychological scars, testimony showed" (NYT). In all, the terror attacks that underpin the case took the lives of 33 people and left more than 450 injured.

The law under which the action was brought - the Anti-Terrorism Act, which allows cases dealing with international terrorism to be heard in United States courts - requires that the injured and dead must be Americans. The number of plaintiffs would have been far larger otherwise.

The usually taciturn Mahmoud Abbas comes perilously
close to smiling as he and freshly released life-term
murdering terrorists strut and high-five in a Ramallah
victory parade, August 13, 2013 [Image Source]
We are struck by the high-sounding words of that information ministry politician. When he blames the bad outcome (all bad outcomes have to be blamed on someone else, according to the Palestinian Arab playbook) on "hard-line antipeace factions in Israel", was he deaf to the blood-curdling shrieks of joy, jubilation and triumph from his side (presumably he would call them the pro-peace side) cheering the undeserved freedom of convicted and unrepentant murderers during three rounds of US State Department-inspired prisoner releases of Palestinian Arabs from Israeli prisons in 2013-2014?

Those scenes - like the one depicted in the photo on the right - are indelibly engraved in our memory. We expressed the despair of seeing and hearing it happen in several posts like, for instance, "25-Aug-13: Wake up call for those who thought the terrorists are walking free for peace", written after we witnessed the murderers of unarmed Jews
placed on pedestals and given lavish foreign-funded pensions for life... Abbas, who ought to be believed on such things, says this has nothing to do with making peace.
PLO's Ashrawi in Ramallah yesterday: “We cannot pay.
We do not have this money... the Authority is fighting
for its survival. If it collapses, there will be consequences for
the entire world.” [Image Source]
We take some small comfort in the knowledge that Hanan Ashrawi, a smooth-talking, long-term member of the PLO executive committee who testified for the defense in the late stages of the trial, told the jury "We tried to prevent violence from all sides" and was clearly disbelieved.

In fact, as the NY Times account reports,
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 [New York Times]
and certainly still do today, they might have added.

How much does that cost? Back in 2011, Palestinian Media Watch presented data to US Congressional lawmakers showing the monthly PA outlay on salaries to convicted and imprisoned terrorists came to more than $5 million per month. Assume it has not shrunk since then, and we are talking of about $65 million per year at least. Now terminate that illegal and immoral policy immediately and the PA will have been able to set aside enough in the next decade to satisfy its liability under the verdict. (But holding breaths would probably be a mistake.)

The day their financial condition renders them unable to keep making those payments (may it come soon!) will be one of celebration for those Palestinian Arabs who understand the corrosive effect on their lives of the Arafat/Abbas/Hamas circles' addiction to terror.

1 comment:

Michael Dar said...

And they want a state of their own!They indulge in BDS, demonization of Israel, Law-fare, terrorism, incitement, doesn't fulfill any of the by them signed agreements and would want us to pay their bills! By the way those Arabs, some call Palestinians are the recipients of the largest per capita in international financial aid..Where is the money?