US Appeals Court rejects $900 million lawsuit against Palestinian Authority over Israel attacks

US Appeals Court rejects $900 million lawsuit against Palestinian Authority over Israel attacks
A case brought forward by US victims of a 2002 suicide bombing in the West Bank seeking $900 million in damages from the Palestinian Liberation Organisation has been dropped.
2 min read
04 May, 2020
Victims of a 2002 bombing in a West Bank settlement requested $900m in damages [Getty]
The US Court of Appeal in Washington DC has dropped a case originally filed in 2004 against the Palestinian Authority (PA) and the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), seeking $900 million in damages for American families affected by attacks against Israeli targets, allegedly carried out by Palestinian militants.

The court ruled that "the district court lacked personal jurisdiction over the defendants".

The case, known as "Shabtai Scott Shatsky vs. the Palestine Liberation Organisation, et al", was brought forward by American victims of a 2002 suicide bombing in the West Bank, who deemed the PLO and the PA responsible.

The Palestinian ministry of finance said the court rejected the appeal made by groups, submitted against the PLO and the PA in 2004.

The ministry said it was pleased by the ruling, adding that it was the result of the efforts made by its legal team in Washington.

The attack in question was carried out on 16 February 2002, when a suicide attacker detonated an explosive device inside a crowded pizza restaurant in the Israeli settlement of Karnei Shomron in the West Bank.

The attack killed two US nationals, 14-year-old Keren Shatsky, and injured 30 others, including four US nationals.

The US victims and their representatives based their lawsuit on the claim that the bombing was enabled by the PA and the PLO.

The PA currently faces 110 such cases in Israel.

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In 2016, a US court threw out an appeal against a ruling demanding the Palestinian Authority and Palestinian Liberation Organisation pay over $650 million to American citizens and their loved ones for attacks in Israel in the early 2000s.

"The terror machine gun attacks and suicide bombings that triggered this suit and victimised these plaintiffs were unquestionably horrific," Judge John Koeltl wrote for the appeals court at the time.

"But the federal courts cannot exercise jurisdiction in a civil case beyond the limits prescribed by the due process clause of the Constitution, no matter how horrendous the underlying attacks or morally compelling the plaintiffs’ claims."

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