A federal judge has thrown out a lawsuit by Palestinians and Palestinian-Americans claiming the United States, individuals and several multinational corporations and banks committed “war crimes” and “crimes against humanity” by developing homes on the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
U.S. District Judge Tanya S. Chutkan this week released an order dismissing the case Bassem Al-Tamimi et al. vs. Sheldon Adelson and the United States.
The judge found her court lacked jurisdiction to “hear plaintiffs claims against the United States, as Congress has not waived sovereign immunity for such claims. The court further concludes that it lacks subject matter jurisdiction to adjudicate the claims against all defendants because they are replete with non-justiciable political questions.”
The American Center for Law and Justice, which had filed briefs on behalf of a charity located in the Middle East, charged the case amounted to a challenge to Israel’s existence.
“We secured a massive federal court victory in the most significant U.S. federal court case in defense of Israel’s legitimacy as a Jewish state we’ve ever undertaken,” ACLJ said.
“Just over a year ago a group of Palestinian activists, led by the head of a family of notorious terrorists, Bassem al-Tamimi, filed a $34.5 billion dollar lawsuit in federal court against numerous organizations that support the state of Israel. In a nutshell, what they were trying to do in their 200-page complaint was to litigate the very existence of the state of Israel in an attempt to delegitimize it.”
The judge said the Palestinians and Palestinian-Americans from East Jerusalem, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and five Palestinian village councils sued, claiming the defendants “engaged in a civil conspiracy to expel all non-Jews from” those regions” and “committed war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide in violation of the law of nations under the Alien Tort Statute.”
Nonsense, said the judge, who had requested the motions to dismiss.
“The Palestinian and Palestinian-American plaintiffs in this lawsuit allege that they have experienced immense loss of life, liberty and property over the last several decades, and they seek justice and compensation for violence they have experienced,” she wrote. “At the core of their amended complaint, however, is the request for this court to adjudicate and resolve the lawfulness of the development of Israeli settlements in Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem stretching over 30 years into the past.
“This issue, both close to the heart of the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict and central to the United States’ foreign policy decision-making in the region, is simply inappropriate for this court to resolve.”
Those with concerns need to go to the “political branches,” instead, she said.
Sekulow’s organization had represented a charity set up to defend the history and people of Gush Etzion, an area with dozens of villages near Bethlehem.
“Their only ‘wrongdoing’ – along with the other charities, nonprofits, businesses and private citizens named in the complaint – was that they have supported and continue to support the Jewish state of Israel,” ACLJ said.
Gush Etzion, the report said, is an “area of great historical and strategic significance from biblical times.” It was decimated during Israel’s independence war in 1948.
At that time, Prime Minister Ben Gurion eulogized the defenders.
“I can think of no battle in the annals of the Israel Defense Forces which was more magnificent, more tragic or more heroic than the struggle for Gush Etzion,” he said. ” … If there exists a Jewish Jerusalem, our foremost thanks go to the defenders of Gush Etzion.”
ACLJ explained the Arab Legion “massacred the Jews of Gush Etzion in 1948, but after the miraculous Six Day War of 1967, when Judea and Samaria were liberated, the Jews returned and rebuilt. From 450 residents in four villages that were destroyed in 1948, Gush Etzion is now home to 90,000 Israelis in 22 flourishing towns and villages.”
The report said: “Make no mistake: what this case is about is another attempt by Israel’s enemies to attack the Jewish presence in the land of Israel and undermine the legitimacy of Israel as a Jewish state. Having failed at warfare every time they confront Israel militarily, Israel’s enemies are now using our courts to fight her with lawfare.”