High Court: PA liable for terrorism due to stipends it pays terrorists

April 11, 2022 by Aryeh Savir - TPS
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The High Court of Justice ruled Sunday that the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) practice of paying stipends to terrorists imprisoned in Israel and their families constitutes “ratification” of the terrorists’ actions and therefore the PA “shares in the wrongdoings” committed by the terrorists-detainees and is liable to pay damages to the Israeli victims of terrorism.

Palestinians protest at the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem’s Old City, May 21, 2021. Photo by Jamal Awad/Flash90

The dramatic ruling was given following an appeal against the ruling of the Jerusalem District Court in 2019 which rejected the appellants’ claims that the PA bears responsibility for terrorist acts in which their relatives were killed.

The appeal raised the question of whether the payment of funds by the PA to security prisoners and their families is a confirmation or support of the terrorist acts committed by the prisoners

The case involves four lawsuits filed against the PA and the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) that were jointly adjudicated. The plaintiffs in each of the lawsuits lost family members in one of four murderous attacks that occurred in Jerusalem between 2001-2002 during the Second Intifada: the suicide bombing at the Sbarro restaurant that occurred in 2001 and resulted in the deaths of 15 people and 130 others injured; A double suicide bombing and a car bomb blast in the area of ​​Ben Yehuda Street that occurred in 2001and resulted in the deaths of 11 people and the injury of 170 others; A suicide bombing at Cafe Moment that occurred on March 3, 2002, resulting in the deaths of 11 people and the injury of 60 others; An attack using an explosive device on the Mount Scopus campus of the Hebrew University that occurred in 2002 that resulted in the deaths of 9 people and the injury of 100 others.

There was no dispute that the person responsible for each of the four attacks was Hamas terrorist Abdullah Barghouti, who is currently serving 67 life-term sentences in Israeli prison. The focus of the District Court hearing was whether the PAS and the PLO are responsible for these attacks as well through their support of the terrorists.

A majority of judges, Justices Yizchak Amit and David Mintz, ruled against the dissenting opinion of Justice Ofer Grosskopf, that the PA’s conduct of paying convicted terrorists and their families as part of the “struggle against Israel” makes the PA liable for their actions.

The PA “expresses its consent to their actions, in a manner that takes responsibility for the acts. This justifies that it will be assigned personal and direct responsibility,” Amit wrote.

The ruling means that the families of terror attack victims can sue the PA for compensation and the case will return to the Jerusalem District Court, which will determine the compensation owed to the victims by the PA.

Israel has long warned that the PA’s practice of providing stipends to terrorists constitutes an inventive to commit acts of terrorism.

The PA paid more than half a billion shekels in salaries to terrorists in 2020, about 3.25% of its annual budget, a report by Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) shows. Analysis of the PA’s budget by PMW has found that the payments, totaling at least 512 million shekels ($156,280,000), were rolled into the budget for “PLO institutions.”

In addition, the PA paid hundreds of millions of shekels in rewards to wounded terrorists and the families of terrorists killed during attacks and in clashes with Israeli forces.

The PA’s policy has been widely condemned, with Canada, the US, Australia, and Holland halting direct aid to the PA until the policy is abolished, but the PA has vowed to proceed with the policy it claims is a form of welfare.

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