Obama asks US judge not to levy millions against Palestinian Authority

Published August 12th, 2015 - 01:33 GMT
Al Bawaba
Al Bawaba

The Obama administration advised a New York judge that approving millions of dollars in damages to the families of Americans killed in Palestinian attacks could imperil the Palestinian government.

A jury awarded the victims and their families $218.5 million in damages earlier this year, following attacks on Americans in Israel between 2002 and 2004 linked to the Palestinian Authority (PA) and the Palestine Liberation Organization. The damages were automatically tripled to more than $600 million under an applicable anti-terrorism law.

Palestinian officials have said they would appeal the verdict, and their lawyers asked that a bond be waived while the plaintiff’s lawyers seek to have the defendants post a bond of $30 million per month, according to reports.

A State Department official who spoke to Anadolu Agency on condition of anonymity confirmed that the administration's Statement of Interest includes US national security and foreign policy concerns, including “concerns about the harms that could arise if the PA’s ability to operate as a governmental authority is severely compromised.”

The official said that the administration’s filing also took into consideration “US government interests in supporting the rights of victims of terrorism to vindicate their interests in federal court and to receive just compensation for their injuries”.

“The filing does not address the ultimate merits of any issue in the case, but expresses the interests of the US.”

An Anadolu Agency request for comment by the Justice Department went unanswered.

Deputy Secretary of State Anthony Blinken reportedly said in the five-page filing that if the PA were to lose its ability to govern it would "fuel anger and frustration", and potentially rekindle widespread violence in the West Bank. 

"Senior US officials have made clear to other governments that if the PA were to collapse, we would be faced with a crisis that would not only impact the security of Israelis and Palestinians, but would potentially have ripple effects elsewhere in the region," Blinken said in the sworn declaration filed Monday, according to The Associated Press.

You may also like


Sign up to our newsletter for exclusive updates and enhanced content