A New York federal district court judge on Monday ordered the Palestinian Authority to immediately pay a $10 million bond and a subsequent $1 million per month until the case, which awarded the families of overseas terrorist victims $218 million, is decided on appeal.
The origins of the lawsuit date as far back as 2002-2004, when six attacks in Israel were carried out by Palestinian-supported terrorist groups (reportedly the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades and Hamas). The bombings and shootings ultimately killed 33, and injured over 450 people.
A New York jury found in favor of the plaintiffs in February, awarding 10 U.S. families with the allotted sum. However, the U.S. Anti-Terrorism Act triples the damages total to $655 million.
The plaintiffs were seeking a $20 million bond, but both the State and Justice departments asked the presiding judge to “carefully consider” that terms weren’t too exuberant because of the Authority’s apparent “dire financial situation”.
The U.S. government agencies warned that too steep a price tag could potentially further destabilize the region if government operations there weren’t able to be funded.
“Respectfully, a million means a lot to the Palestinian Authority,” said Michael Berger, serving as legal counsel for Palestine’s government, reports The Guardian.
Kent Yalowitz, representing the plaintiffs, said he was “disappointed in the amount” of the bond order, pointing out that the Authority pays $60 million per year to the families of imprisoned terrorists held in Israel.
Plaintiffs will not receive compensation from the Palestinian government until a federal appeals court decides the case. The time frame of the appellate process has not yet been determined.
The lawsuit was first filed in 2004.
[Wall Street Journal] [The Guardian] [Photo courtesy Alaa Badarneh/EPA]