US court revives Palestinian lawsuit against pro-Israel magnate Adelson
A US court has revived a multi-billion-dollar lawsuit lodged by Palestinians which seeks to prosecute the United States, billionare Sheldon Adelson, and other prominent pro-Israel figures for alleged war crimes and support of settlements in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza.
The lawsuit, launched by 18 Palestinians and Palestinian-Americans, as well as five Palestinian village councils, seeks to hold billionaire Sheldon Adelson and 48 other defendants, including the United States government, to account for "committing or aiding in genocide" and other war crimes in Palestine.
The other defendants include Larry Ellison, Bank Leumi BM and Bank Hapoalim BM, construction and support companies such as Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co and Volvo AB, 13 nonprofits.
The lawsuit alleges the defendants have been engaged in a "conspiracy to expel all non-Jews" from East Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, as well as committing or aiding and abetting "war crimes and genocide", variously through donations to and advocacy and promotion of settlements and the Israeli army, as well as construction, business and other material support.
The US Court of Appeals in Washington DC decided on Tuesday a federal district judge had wrongly decided to strike down the lawsuit in August 2017. The judge had claimed the lawsuit raised political issues a US court would not be able discuss.
Judge Tanya Chutkan had claimed it was inappropriate to discuss the issue of settlements, which are "close to the heart of the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict and central to the United States' foreign policy decision-making in the region".
Judge Karen LeCraft Henderson overruled Chutkan's decision, saying that the only political issue raised by the lawsuit was that of sovereignty over the occupied Palestinian territories, Reuters reported.
A US court could rule on whether defendants conspired to expel non-Jews or committed war crimes, she said, "without touching the sovereignty question, if it concluded that Israeli settlers are committing genocide".
If successful, the plaintiffs could be awarded $34 billion.