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Palestinian Authority and PLO face $218m fine in USA

Palestinians see the verdict as biased and legally dubious. [Anadolu]

Date of publication: 24 February, 2015

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An American jury found the PA and PLO liable for allegedly supporting attacks in Israel more than a decade ago, in a verdict gleefully welcomed by Israelis and strongly rejected by Palestinians as legally baseless and politically biased.

A US jury on Monday found Palestinian authorities liable for six attacks in Jerusalem that killed and injured Americans, awarding victims and their families more than $218 million in damages.

Under the US anti-terrorism act, the damages are automatically tripled, meaning that the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) are liable to pay more than $650 million. 

Israel welcomed the decision, but the Palestinians accused the lawsuit of being politically motivated and vowed to appeal. 

The six attacks killed 33 people and wounded more than 390 others between January 2002 and January 2004. 

The 12-member jury decided unanimously that the PA and PLO were liable on 25 separate counts connected to the six attacks.  

They apportioned individual damages ranging from $1 million to $25 million to Americans who were injured or lost loved ones.  

The total falls well short of the $1 billion sought by lawyers for 11 plaintiff families when the trial opened in mid-January.  

Mahmoud Khalifa, Palestinian deputy information minister, expressed dismay at the verdict and vowed to appeal what he called "baseless" charges.   

He said the case was politically motivated by "anti-peace factions" in Israel to block a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  

"We are confident that we will prevail, as we have faith in the US legal system and are certain about our common sense belief and our strong legal standing," he said in a statement.

It remains unclear if and how the PA can pay, and it is in serious financial difficulty because of revenue frozen by Israel.

 

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