(July 9, 2019 / JNS) The Jerusalem District Court ruled on Monday that the Palestinian Authority and Palestine Liberation Organization can be tried in Israeli courts for 17 terrorist attacks committed during the Second Intifada, saying the organizations offered financial, practical and ideological support for the attacks.
The victims and their families can now sue the most powerful Palestinian entities in Israeli courts for potentially hundreds of millions of dollars in damages.
In his decision, Judge Moshe Drori said that the P.A. and PLO played roles in inciting the Palestinian public to violence against Israeli Jews, and that as they did not constitute a state entity entitled to immunity from damages claims.
Drori cited late PLO leader Yasser Arafat, who said it was “the declared policy of the PLO and P.A. … to carry out terror attacks against Israel,” and condemned the organizations for idolizing terrorists by naming streets and plazas after them, celebrating them in public rallies, and lauding them in official publications.
The ruling, which included allied organizations as well as rival terrorist groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad, was made in response to suits by dozens of families who lost loved ones in the attacks, the first of which occurred in 1996 at the Tomb of Joseph in Shechem/Nablus during Arab uproar over the opening of the Western Wall tunnels in Jerusalem.
The P.A. and PLO have been ordered to pay NIS 5.5 million (about $1.5 million) in legal fees to the families.
Monday’s ruling followed a precedent set by Judge Drori in a 2014 case involving the highway shooting deaths of three Israelis at the beginning of the Second Intifada in 2001. In that case, Drori ruled that the P.A. and PLO were not immune to tort claims and ordered the P.A. to pay $17.6 million in damages.