Israeli bus company sues Arafat for terror damages
Israeli bus cooperative Egged will file a 52 million new Israeli shekels ($11 million) lawsuit today, November 21, against the Palestinian Authority and its chairman, Yasser Arafat. Egged lawyers would ask an Israeli court to hold Arafat and other PA officials responsible for failing to thwart attacks against its buses. Just this morning, 11 people were killed and dozens injured when an explosion ripped through an Israeli bus in Jerusalem.
The company is seeking compensation for damages incurred in terrorist attacks—suicide bombings, shooting, stoning and roadside bombs. The suit covers both direct physical damages to buses, as well as indirect losses to the company, namely a 10 percent decline in passenger traffic.
Over 20 percent of terrorist attacks since the outbreak of the latest Palestinian uprising in September 2000 have targeted busses, killing more than 100 passengers and wounding another 600.
The current lawsuit seeks reparations for damage inflicted during the first year of the Al-Aksa Intifada, reported Israeli Army Radio. Egged plans to claim another NIS120 million later on to cover terrorist-related expenses in the year 2002.
Egged expects to collect compensation monies from the NIS 1.7 billion ($363 million) income and value-added taxes and custom duties levied by Israel on behalf of the PA. Israel objects to handing over the money to the PA claiming it would be used to finance terrorism.
In August, a precedent was set when 29 Israeli hotel owners got a local court to freeze the transfer of $20 million, seeking to hold the Palestinian leadership responsible for a nearly 50 percent drop in tourism. Earlier this year, Israel’s Supreme Court ruled against 22 Israeli companies who demanded that the suspended tax money be used to cover overdue Palestinian bills to Israeli electric and water utility companies. The PA has refrained from answering the accusations in both cases. — (menareport.com)
© 2002 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)