When families of U.S. citizens wounded or killed in Palestinian Liberation Organization terror attacks won $1.1 billion in a seven-week trial in Manhattan Federal Court earlier this year, they probably didn’t expect Barack Obama to intercede in the case – on the side of the terrorists.
But that’s exactly what happened this week, when the administration signaled it would intervene in the civil lawsuit in which 11 American families won the judgment against Palestinian leadership for a series of bombings and shootings that killed 33 and injured hundreds between 2001 and 2004.
In July, the Department of Justice, which had previously not been involved in the 11-year-old case, informed the court it was considering filing a “statement of interest” in the case. DOJ indicated it is working with the U.S. State Department on the intervention.
As Kent Yalowitz, attorney for the families, said: “An administration which claims to be fighting terror is planning to weigh in favor of the terrorists.”
Of course, collecting the judgment wouldn’t be easy – even without intervention on the part of the U.S. government. First of all, the Palestinian leadership would not have to pay the award unless it is upheld on appeal. But U.S. District Judge George Daniels said he may require the Palestinians to post bond while the case works its way through the process to show “some meaningful demonstration that the defendant is ready and willing to pay the judgment.”
Yalowitz has requested that the Palestinian leadership be required to place $30 million per month in escrow while the case is appealed. But he suspects the U.S. government is considering intervening to help the Palestinian leadership avoid the bond.
“If our government actually came in favor of convicted terrorists, it would be a really sorry statement about the way our government treats terror,” he said.
John Bolton, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said the administration would be wrong to assert a diplomatic role in the case.
“Palestine is not a state, and is therefore, not entitled to be treated like a state,” Bolton said. “It does not enjoy sovereign immunity, and it would be wrong for the United States government to argue otherwise in federal court.”
Families of the victims note the PLO and Palestinian Authority pay stipends to the very terrorists and their families who carried out the attacks.
“The U.S. government and the DOJ should be ashamed that they are even considering telling an American court that the PLO and the PA can afford to pay convicted terrorists, but cannot afford to pay the victims of those very same terrorists,” said family member Alan Bauer.
The federal jury in the case found the PLO and Palestinian Authority responsible for more than six shootings and bombings between 2002 and 2004 in the Jerusalem area, which have been attributed to the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades and Hamas. In two cases, the attackers were Palestinian Authority police officers; in another, a suicide bomber was shown to have worked closely with the PA’s military intelligence office in planning the attack; and in a 2004 suicide bombing of a bus, in which 11 were killed and 50 wounded, PA police and security officials admitted to participating in the plot and making the bomb.
In each case, the Palestinian Authority paid the families of suicide bombers and those later jailed for their participation in the attack.
Question: Is the Obama administration really interested in punishing terrorism that kills and maims U.S. citizens? Or, is the Obama administration actually protecting terrorists who kill and main U.S. citizens from the consequences of their actions?
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