Animosity and mistrust among Palestinians and US authorities took another beating with US jury awarding victims of six attacks carried out by Palestinian authorities over $218 million damages. The attacks had killed and injured American citizens.
Israel hailed the decision as a “moral victory.” However, Palestinians were certain that the decision was politically motivated, prompting them to launch a protest against the verdict. They are expected to appeal, reports The Christian Science Monitor.
The US anti-terrorism act requires damages to be tripled automatically. This essentially means the Palestinian Authority (PA) and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) are accountable to pay more than $650 million.
The trial took more than five weeks to be completed. The verdict was reached following two and half-days of deliberation, terminating the landmark trial under US district judge George Daniels in New York.
The trial was based on attacks that killed 33 people and injured more than 390 between January 2002 and January 2004, Yahoo! News reports.
There had been 25 separate counts attached to the six attacks, which the jury have decided to hold PA and PLO liable. The US-blacklisted terrorists organizations such as Hamas and the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades carried out shootings and bombings during the second Palestinian revolt against Israel.
The individual damages have been apportioned within the range of $1 million and $25 million to American victims and their families. The decision was celebrated by Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, calling it a “victory for the state of Israel and for victims of terrorism.”
Lieberman further said, “Terrorism is an integral part of the very structure of the Palestinian Authority.”
Amidst the euphoria of the winning party, it is unclear how PA would be able to replenish the amount, given how it is financially crippled after Israel had frozen its revenue.
The official statement from Palestinian deputy information minister Mahmoud Khalifa goes, “We are confident that we will prevail, as we have faith in the US legal system and are certain about our common sense belief and our strong legal standing.”