Tag Archives: Palestine

PA responds to US court ruling that the PA has to pay $655 million to victims of terror

by Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik
PLO Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi:

“We will appeal the ruling, and we wholeheartedly believe that we will win the appeal”

“The PLO and the PA had absolutely nothing to do with these actions”

“We were denied [the status] known as ‘sovereign immunity’ to which we are entitled as a sovereign state”

“The PA and the PLO lack the funds necessary to pay”

“The US State Department issued a warning not to visit Israel at that time (2000-2004)… What were they [Americans] doing in a region about which there is a warning?”

MP and Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs Director Issa Karake:

“The recent ruling of the American court… sets a dangerous precedent that contradicts international law”

“[It is] forbidden to deal with or appear before these courts, since their objective is to harm the PLO’s standing”

PA government:

“We will continue to cast out extremism and violence from our midst, and to preserve our strong commitment to peaceful popular resistance and international, political, legal and moral justice. As always, we are absolutely prepared to be partners in the peace process.”

Economic expert Dr. Nasser Abd Al-Karim:

“If the ruling goes into effect after the appeal, it will be final, and it will be obligatory to pay. Even if the PA does not pay, it will represent a liability for it, and it may encounter difficulties in performing financial transactions and transfers, or in opening bank accounts in the international banking system.”

Last week, the US Federal District Court in New York ruled that the Palestinian Authority is financially liable for $655 million in damages to victims of terror attacks. 10 American families who are all victims or related to victims of Palestinian terror, sued the PA for damages, saying that the PA was responsible for the terror attacks in which they were personally injured or their relatives were killed during the years of the PA terror campaign (Intifada, 2000-2005)..

The US court ruled in favor of the terror victims, accepting the prosecutor’s claim that the PA was responsible for these attacks. Palestinian Media Watch‘s documentation of the PA leadership’s conduct during the period in question and later statements by PA leaders has been a vital part of the prosecution’s preparation for the case.

Responding to the verdict, PLO Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi immediately stated that the PA and the PLO will “appeal the ruling” [Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Feb. 25, 2015] and next time use “a firm capable of achieving what we are entitled to.” [Watan TV, Feb. 24, 2015] She also said that the PA and the PLO “do not have the funds to pay the compensation.” [Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Feb. 25, 2015]

PA Parliament Member and Director of the Commission of Prisoners’ and Released Prisoners’ Issa Karake said that “the recent ruling of the American court… sets a dangerous precedent that contradicts international law,” and stated that it is “forbidden to deal with or appear before these courts, since their objective is to harm the PLO’s standing…” Karake also said that “the Palestinian people has fallen victim to political extortion,” and that it is “fitting that we start suing Israeli officers, soldiers and officials in the courts of countries whose laws allow for it, and that we hurry to turn to the International Criminal Court in order to sue the occupation army and its commanders for the war crimes they perpetrated and continue to perpetrate against our people.” [Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Feb. 7, 2015]

The PA government was quoted in the official daily as stressing “its confidence that justice would be done for the Palestinians and their leadership,” stating: “We believe in the American legal system, and are absolutely certain in our rational conviction and well-founded legal position.” It also added that:

“We will continue to cast out extremism and violence from our midst, and to preserve our strong commitment to peaceful popular resistance and international, political, legal and moral justice. As always, we are absolutely prepared to be partners in the peace process as well as uncompromising defenders of our people’s rights and our homeland, in order to live as a free, independent, democratic and thriving state that will coexist peacefully with its neighbors.”

[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Feb. 24, 2015]

The following are longer excerpts of statements by PA officials responding to the US court’s decision that the PA pay $655 million to victims of PA terror:

PLO Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi:

“The PA and the [Palestinian Liberation] Organization lack the funds necessary to pay these compensations or fines…. It is also extremely difficult to find a US law firm willing to defend the PLO, PA or the Palestinians. In the next stage, the stage of appeal, we will have a firm capable of achieving what we are entitled to…

We were denied [the status] known as ‘sovereign immunity’ to which we are entitled as a sovereign state. This is a very serious matter, for the entire world recognizes us as a state, except for a few countries, including the US.”

[Watan TV (independent Palestinian channel), Feb. 24, 2015]

PLO Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi:

Headline: “Ashrawi: New York court ruling was based on false claims”

“PLO Executive Committee Member Hanan Ashrawi stressed yesterday [Feb. 24, 2015] that the PLO and the PA are determined to appeal the ruling of the US Federal [District] Court in New York, which held them responsible for six bombing attacks carried out by Palestinians in Israel, and ordered to pay compensation to the killed [victims’ families].

Ashrawi stated that the Court’s accusations were based on false and unfounded claims, while failing to immediately set a date for the submission of an appeal.

Ashrawi spoke at a press conference she had organized at the central PLO headquarters in El-Bireh, during which she described the [court’s] ruling to impose a fine as an act of extortion, coming at a time when Israel continues to seek to bring down the PLO and the PA, who are committed to a peaceful solution according to international laws and resolutions.

Ashrawi denied there was any link between the PLO and the PA to the events that formed the subject of the court’s ruling. She also noted that they had occurred during Israel’s invasion of the towns of the West Bank and its occupation of the Muqata’a, the [PA] Presidential Headquarters in Ramallah, which created a state of complete anarchy and the theft [by Israel] of the Palestinian documents used by the court…

Ashrawi, who had already testified before the court, said the court had refused to refer to Palestine as a state, [but rather] considered the Palestinians as an entity or group that had carried out [military] operations.

She added: ‘US law does not allow for sovereign states to be prosecuted but it does not recognize either the State of Palestine nor Palestinian sovereignty, but rather treats us as if we were some group that has carried out an incident, with no claim to immunity, while most countries of the world have recognized us [as a state].’ She also stressed that the PLO and the PA do not have the funds to pay the compensation.

She said: ‘Individuals with US and Israeli citizenship have decided to take advantage of the US justice system; but this does not contradict the facts, and we maintain that the PLO and the PA had absolutely nothing to do with these [terror] actions. These are false and unfounded claims, and we reiterate that these incidents were not carried out based on PLO or PA decisions, regardless of the titles (i.e., positions in the PA) of those who carried out the incidents.’

She added: ‘We stress that we will appeal the ruling, and we wholeheartedly believe that we will win the appeal. We do not doubt or fault the US justice system in any way.’

Ashrawi noted that there are precedents in which American courts refused to try institutions and organizations that are outside the US…

Dr. Ashrawi noted that this ruling to impose 218 million dollar [payment] on the PLO and the PA comes at a moment of severe financial crisis for Palestine, with Israel’s robbing Palestinian tax money and its working to bring down the PA, the government’s inability to pay its workers’ salaries, and the thwarting of the PLO’s and the PA’s plan to comply with international law – while Israeli individuals are taking advantage of their US citizenship to extort money.

She added: ‘The painful thing is that Israel, since the 1967 occupation alone, has killed over 70,000 Palestinians, arrested 850,000 [others], stolen lands and resources, and expropriated the liberty, rights and lives of the Palestinians. I doubt that any sum of money would be sufficient to pay any kind of compensation to the Palestinian people.’

She continued: ‘One cannot blame the victims for their reactions. This is an oppressive occupation founded on injustice and tyranny, that must come to an end.’

Ashrawi finished her speech by saying that this event highlights the need to turn to the International Criminal Court, because Israel is a state that violates the law, that works in ways that violate the rights of the Palestinians, and we insist on Israel‘s being tried by international law and the sovereignty of international law.

[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Feb. 25, 2015]

PLO Executive Committee Member Hanan Ashrawi:

“Even after the US State Department issued a warning not to visit Israel at that time (2000-2005), several acts occurred that caused damage to several Americans who had not heeded the US State Department’s warnings. What were they doing in a region about which there is a warning, where there is violence, instability, and so on? Rachel Corrie, who was the victim of premeditated murder (Rachel Corrie was run over trying to stop a bulldozer from destroying terrorist infrastructure, see more information below, -Ed.) using Israeli Caterpillar bulldozers – the Israeli Supreme Court of Justice ruled that this was a state of war and that it could not rule against the person who had committed the murder or the atrocity – the person guilty of her premeditated murder. Certainly, those who came from another country to one in which there was violence and so on – despite the warning issued by their government – and then accuse an entire government, an entire Authority, for every person and for each individual [military] operation, as if the entire Palestinian political establishment were responsible. This is a dangerous precedent. Honestly, I, we all, all the senior [Palestinian] officials, are now monitoring [the issue] daily, in a professional and direct manner. We know we will win the appeal, [even] if we do not succeed in getting an acquittal now.”

[Official PA TV, Feb. 23, 2015]

Note: Rachel Corrie – was run over by an Israeli army bulldozer in Gaza in 2003 while trying to prevent the bulldozers from destroying terrorist infrastructure. The Corrie family sued Israel for “wrongful death” of their daughter but the Israeli court ruled against the Corrie family, stating that the driver could not see Rachel Corrie, that she had intentionally put herself in a war zone, and that her death was a regrettable accident.

 

 MP and Commission of Prisoners’ Affairs Director Issa Karake

Headline: “Karake: American and Israeli courts put the legitimate Palestinian struggle on trial”

“Commission of Prisoners and Released Prisoners’ Affairs Director Issa Karake said that the recent ruling of the American court in New York, according to which the PA must pay 218 million dollars in compensation to [the families of] those killed, who were US citizens and served in the Israeli army, sets a dangerous precedent that contradicts international law. In addition, he called [the case] a political lawsuit against the legitimate Palestinian national struggle, which is sanctioned by international law and UN resolutions.

Karake said it was forbidden to deal with or appear before these courts, since their objective is to harm the PLO’s standing and to define the Palestinian people’s resistance to the occupation as a criminal act.

Karake said that these Americans had oppressed and killed the Palestinian people in the ranks of the occupation forces, and that they are the ones who should appear before the international courts and pay compensation to the Palestinian victims. Karake noted that Palestine is now a country under occupation, and UN resolutions have established that resisting occupation in order to achieve self-determination and independence is a legitimate right…

Karake wondered how it is possible that the courts have targeted the identity of the national struggle of the Palestinian people, turning all its sacrifices into crimes and acts of [criminal] gangs…

Karake noted that the Palestinian people has fallen victim to political extortion, and that it is fitting that we start suing Israeli officers, soldiers and officials in the courts of countries whose laws allow for it, and that we hurry to turn to the International Criminal Court in order to sue the occupation army and its commanders for the war crimes they perpetrated and continue to perpetrate against our people…”

[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Feb. 7, 2015]

Op-ed by Hafez Al-Barghouti, regular columnist for official PA daily:

“The Israeli-American Jews played in the American court, which leans in their favor, and sued the PA and the PLO over the wounding of Jews with dual citizenship in [military] operations in Jerusalem. During the same period, between 2002 and 2004, occupation forces attacked all the PA’s headquarters and Security Forces, destroyed all the headquarters and attacked dozens of bases of the National Security Forces, the police, the Preventive Security and the Intelligence Forces. In other words, the PA had no sovereignty over its own territory, not to mention the occupied territories under Israeli control, like Jerusalem. The question is, why did these American-Israelis come to occupied land, and why do they become Americans when they are wounded, and Israelis when they commit crimes against our people?

We do not rely on any American court, because they are, by their very nature, founded on absurdity, not on justice. Yet this fact allows us to sue the US administration itself, as well as the US army, for the crimes they carried out against our people by arming and training the occupation army. It also allows us to turn to courts in other countries – Arab and non-Arab alike.”

[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Feb. 25, 2015]

Official PA daily:

Headline: “The [PA] government: New York court ruling is a tragic response for millions of Palestinians”

“The [Fatah-Hamas] National Consensus Government expressed deep disappointment over the negative verdict handed down yesterday [Feb. 23, 2015] by the New York [Federal District] Court, which convicted the PA and PLO of having supported a series of bombing operations carried out between 2004 and 2011(sic). Furthermore, the New York court ignored legal precedents repeatedly set by US courts, including a verdict handed down by the federal judge in Washington DC last week, who ruled that local American bodies were not appropriate for hearings of this kind.

The government stressed that the Palestinian bodies involved – the PLO and the PA – would appeal the ruling. It stressed its confidence that justice would be done for the Palestinians and their leadership, stating: ‘We believe in the American legal system, and are absolutely certain in our rational conviction and well-founded legal position.’

The government stated: ‘This verdict is a tragic response for millions of Palestinians, who have invested into the democratic process and the rule of law, in order to work for justice and the correction of the injustice done to them and to the international community, which has invested much, both financially and politically, in the two-state solution the PA is striving for.’

The government added: ‘We will continue to cast out extremism and violence from our midst, and to preserve our strong commitment to peaceful popular resistance and international, political, legal and moral justice. As always, we are absolutely prepared to be partners in the peace process as well as uncompromising defenders of our people’s rights and our homeland, in order to live as a free, independent, democratic and thriving state that will coexist peacefully with its neighbors.'”

[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Feb. 24, 2015]

Economist in official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida,

Headline: “Will Israel deduct the compensation to the American Jews from [PA] tax money?”
“Economists believe that the US Court of Appeals’ upholding of the New York State jury’s decision, which obligates the PA to compensate the families of several American Jews killed in attacks during the second Intifada (2000-2005), will be a painful economic and financial blow to the PA, causing it partial bankruptcy and partial paralysis…

Economics expert Dr. Nasser Abd Al-Karim stressed to Al-Hayat Al-Jadida that if the ruling goes into effect after the appeal, it will be final, and it will be obligatory to pay. Even if the PA does not pay, it will represent a liability for it, and it [the PA] may encounter difficulties in performing financial transactions and transfers, or in opening bank accounts in the international banking system.”

[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Feb. 25, 2015]

Top 10 Results of Palestinian Investigation into NC Murders

From Reuters:

The Palestinian government on Saturday condemned as “terrorism” the killings of three young Palestinian-Americans in North Carolina and called on U.S. authorities to include its investigators in the probe.

Police have charged a neighbor with Tuesday’s shooting in the town of Chapel Hill of Deah Barakat, 23, his wife Yusor Abu-Salha, 21, and her sister Razan Abu-Salha, 19, saying the incident followed a dispute over parking.

But investigators said they were also looking into whether the suspect, Craig Stephen Hicks, was motivated by hatred toward the victims because they were Muslim.

Branding Hicks “an American extremist and hateful racist”, the Palestinian Foreign Ministry said the incident suggested a rise in dangerous discrimination against American Muslims.

“We consider it a serious indication of the growth of racism and religious extremism which is a direct threat to the lives of hundreds of thousands of American citizens who follow the Islamic faith,” the ministry said in a statement.

It called for “a serious investigation and the involvement of Palestinian investigators to clarify the circumstances of these assassinations and premeditated murders” in Chapel Hill.

Really? Palestinian Authority “experts” want to investigate the murders?

Given their track record of investigations, that would be interesting indeed.

Here are the top ten findings likely to be discovered by “objective” Palestinian Authority investigators:

  • The bullets were made out of depleted uranium
  • The apartment complex is an illegal settlement for all non-Muslims who live there
  • Hicks blanketed the area with white phosphorus
  • Four Korans were stepped on and burned and spat upon during the murders
  • Trained wild boars and dogs attacked the victims
  • Mohammed cartoons were posted on street signs outside the victims’ apartment
  • The parking space had belonged to the victims for 8000 years
  • Hicks is, of course, really a Jew and a Zionist
    • And he owns a bank, two newspapers and a Hollywood studio
  • Two words: Polonium poisoning