Friday, May 15, 2009

Hamas Must Pay $116 Million to Terror Attack Victims

In 1996 American citizen Yaron Ungar and his Israeli wife, Efrat, were murdered by members of the PLO and other terrorists on the West Bank. In an earlier time this would have been just another tragedy and forgotten. But in 1991 the United States passed The Anti-Terrorism Act of 1991. A little known provision of this Act states:
(a) Action and Jurisdiction.— Any national of the United States injured in his or her person, property, or business by reason of an act of international terrorism, or his or her estate, survivors, or heirs, may sue therefor in any appropriate district court of the United States and shall recover threefold the damages he or she sustains and the cost of the suit, including attorney’s fees.
The Ungar Estate did just that in Federal Court in the State of Rhode Island. And finally justice has been served.
The Palestine Liberation Organization and its governmental entity cannot overturn a court judgment forcing them to pay more than $116 million for a Hamas terror attack that killed a U.S. citizen and his wife, a federal judge has ruled.

The case is among a handful in the country filed under the Anti-Terrorism Act of 1991, which seeks to hold terrorist organizations responsible for the killings of American citizens.

In a ruling Wednesday, U.S. District Court Judge Ronald Lagueux rejected a request from the Palestinian defendants asking they not be held responsible for the 1996 shooting deaths of Yaron Ungar and his Israeli wife, Efrat, near the West Bank.

The judge, who first ordered the Palestinian defendants to pay in 2004, blamed their loss on a legal strategy set by their late leader Yasser Arafat, who refused to recognize the jurisdiction of the U.S. court.

"These choices were the intentional, deliberate and binding decisions made by the PA's dictatorial leader," the judge wrote. "Defendants must now accept the consequences of these decisions."

Legal proceedings are under way in the United States, Israel and other countries to take money from the PLO and the Palestinian Authority, said David Strachman, an attorney for the estate of the Ungars, who had two children. Only a modest sum has been collected so far, he said, declining to be more specific.

"Judge Lagueux confirmed once again their culpability and their obligation to pay to the Ungar orphans and their family," he said.

It was unclear Thursday if the PLO and Palestinian Authority would appeal, said Deming Sherman, an attorney representing them. He declined to comment further on the case.

The lawsuit seeks compensation for a fatal attack on June 9, 1996, near the Israeli village of Beit Shemesh.

Ungar and his wife were driving home when another vehicle driven by three Hamas gunmen pulled alongside them and opened fire. The couple were killed, but their 9-month-old son survived; another son wasn't in the car.

The defendants accused Hamas, a Palestinian militant group considered by the European Union and the United States to be a terrorist organization, of staging the attack to disrupt peace negotiations the Palestinian Authority was carrying out with the Israeli and U.S. governments.

The judge previously ordered that Hamas must pay more than $116 million for its role in the attack. Hamas has never hired a lawyer or contested the case.
This should be no problem for the Ungar Estate to collect on. The US government under President Barack Obama has pledged $1.1 billion to the PA. First subtract the funds for this judgement, then send out the money. Or just hold it back. With this win, there could and should be more victims of terror worldwide coming forth. We could start with the 9/11 families (Saudi Arabia has very deep pockets). Then there are the victims of 7/7, Madrid, and Mumbai (Pakistan was involved and is slated to receive $10 Billion).

The victims of terror could put these groups out of business very fast with lawsuits.

This will just become another Nakba to the Arabs. They can start holding yearly marches over this one too.


Holger Awakens said...

Nice piece, Findalis.

I'd prefer they go to each home of every Hamas leader, pick him up by the ankles and shake the money out of his pockets or man dress, but any way we can get money out of these jerks, is fine with me.

MathewK said...

Yeah good news this, take the money out of the aid. Alternatively, i'd go with Holger's idea, but can we shoot them after that too.