The Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestinian Authority backed a series of terrorist attacks in the early 2000s in Israel that killed or wounded Americans, a U.S. jury found Monday in awarding hundreds of millions of dollars in damages at a high-stakes civil trial.
The case has been viewed as one of the most notable attempts by American victims of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict to use U.S. courts to seek damages, and the verdict is a setback for the Palestinians’ image as they seek to rally international support for their independence and to push for war crime charges against Israel.
The damages could be a financial blow to the cash-squeezed Palestinian Authority, though the Palestinian authorities plan to appeal and the plaintiffs may face challenges in trying to collect.
In finding the Palestinian entities liable in the attacks, a Manhattan federal jury awarded the victims $218.5 million in damages for the bloodshed in attacks that killed 33 people and wounded hundreds more — damages their lawyers said would automatically be tripled under the U.S. Anti-Terrorism Act.
Palestinian Authority Deputy Minister of Information Dr. Mahmoud Khalifa called the verdict “a tragic disservice” to Palestinians and to the international community in working toward a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.