Tags: Israel | Middle East | Israel | attacks | PLO | trial

Victims of Israel Attacks Seek $350M as PLO Trial Ends

Thursday, 19 Feb 2015 06:58 PM

A lawyer for victims of militant attacks in the Jerusalem area urged a U.S. jury on Thursday to order the Palestine Liberation Organization and Palestinian Authority to pay $350 million for providing material support to terrorists.

Kent Yalowitz, the attorney representing 10 families, told jurors in Manhattan federal court that no amount of money could make up for the loss of lives or injuries suffered in the six shootings and bombings in 2002 and 2004.

"But if the only thing you can give them is money, then money has to stand in as compensation for the unspeakable loss," he said in closing arguments.

Yalowitz said the late PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat and his agents regularly approved payments supporting attackers, allowing authority employees who committed attacks to stay on payroll and making payments to families of ones who died.

"Arafat didn't accidentally approve money for terrorists," Yalowitz said.

But Mark Rochon, a lawyer for the PLO and the Palestinian Authority, blamed the attacks on rogue, low-level employees, saying that his clients condemned the attacks by members of Hamas and the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades and did not benefit from them.

"The one thing I'm worried about is that someone is going to judge my clients for who they are and not for what they didn't do," he said.

The closing arguments followed a more than month-long trial in a lawsuit that has added a new dimension to the long-running Middle East conflict.

Victims and their families accuse the authority and the PLO of providing material support to the militants who carried out the attacks, which killed 33 and wounded more than 450.

Rochon, the PLO's lawyer, said even if Palestinian Authority employees were behind the attacks, his clients should not be held accountable for actions by a small group engaging in attacks "for their own reasons."

The damages Yalowitz sought on Thursday were below the $1 billion that the complaint had listed, and did not include potential damages for four victims' estates.

Any damages could be tripled under the U.S. Anti-Terrorism Act, potentially bringing the total liability to more than $1 billion if the plaintiffs succeed. Any award would be subject to a likely appeal.

Jury deliberations are expected to begin Friday.

The case is Sokolow v. Palestine Liberation Organization et al, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 04-00397.

© 2017 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

   
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A lawyer for victims of militant attacks in the Jerusalem area urged a U.S. jury on Thursday to order the Palestine Liberation Organization and Palestinian Authority to pay $350 million for providing material support to...
Israel, attacks, PLO, trial
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2015-58-19
Thursday, 19 Feb 2015 06:58 PM
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