Jerusalem District Court Judge Moshe Drori issued the last ruling of his career today — and it was perhaps one of the most “historic” decisions in Israeli history, according to one victorious attorney.
The Israeli judge ruled that the Palestinian Authority is responsible for 17 terror attacks, many of which took place during the Second Intifada — a 2000-2005 Palestinian “uprising” involving terror attacks on civilians that led to an intense Israeli military response. The ruling now allows Israeli victims of the terror attacks to sue the Palestinian Authority for as high as $1 billion ILS, or roughly $279 million USD, according to i24.
The Second Intifada killed roughly a 1,000 Israelis and nearly 5,000 Palestinians.
Shurat HaDin, a civil rights group that represents families of Israeli and Jewish victims of terrorism in court, demanded the Palestinian Authority to pay for damages caused by terror attacks. Drori was tasked with deciding whether terror victims had the right to sue the Palestinian Authority in the first place. Drori ruled affirmatively, for the following reasons reported by The Times of Israel:
Judge Moshe Drori ruled that the PA and PLO were not state bodies that could claim immunity from damages claims. He also cited the PLO’s longtime policy of paying stipends to imprisoned terrorists and the families of Palestinians killed while carrying out attacks, and said both the PA and PLO had played a role in inciting the Palestinian public into attacking Israelis.
The bodies carry responsibility for “financial and practical support” as well as ideological encouragement for the attacks, he wrote. The ruling covered attacks carried by groups allied with the PA and PLO, as well as by rivals Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
Drori specifically cited late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, and said it was “the declared policy of the PLO and PA … to carry out terror attacks against Israel.”
He claimed the PA and PLO officials lionized the killers of Israeli civilians in official publications, in public rallies, and by naming streets and city squares after them.
The judge, who is retiring after this case, did not clarify how much the Palestinian Authority will be required to pay in total to civilians. He did, however, order the Palestinian Authority to pay for the victim’s court fee for this case, which is roughly $1.5 million USD.
Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, the president of Shurat HaDin, celebrated the decision as "historic," saying it affirmed that the Second Intifada was a state-directed initiative orchestrated by the Palestinian Authority to extract concessions from Israel, The Jerusalem Post reported.
Darshan-Leitner also told The Post that she has earlier successfully petitioned the court to place a temporary lien on a patch of land that was owned by the Yasser Arafat, the late leader of the Palestinian Authority. She said that the court needed to temporarily hold the land, located near the Old City of Jeruselum, to make sure the Palestinian Authority pays its damages if her civil rights group wins their suit.
The Palestinian Authority is an interim self-governing entity that claims to represent Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank. Their de facto authority only extends to the West Bank as Hamas, another Palestinian entity recognized as a terrorist group by the United States, forcefully ejected them from the Gaza strip in 2006.