As the Trump administration prepares to meet with Mahmoud Abbas, who continues to incite terror and deny the full extent of the Holocaust, the victims of PLO terror have a right to be given their just due.
In Feb. 2015, 11 American families who lost or had loved ones injured between 2001 and 2004 in Israel were awarded $655.5 million by U.S. District Judge George Daniels, who said that the PLO and PA had sufficient U.S. contacts to be sued in the United States. On February 28, 2015, after five weeks of deliberations in the first civil trial of the “Palestinian” entities in the U.S., a jury ordered the defendants to pay $218.5 million to the 11 American plaintiff families of victims of six attacks. The U.S. Anti-Terrorism Act (18 U.S.C. and 2331 et seq.) permits U.S. citizens injured by acts of international terrorism to pursue damages in federal court and automatically triples the award (making the total $655.5 million). (Please see my article of Sept 4, 2016-Israel National News).
I personally know at least one of the families injured in these attacks perpetrated by the PLO. Kent Yalowitz, one of the lawyers for the victims, said in February 2015, “The PA and PLO policies of financial inducements and rewards for terrorism that are at the center of this case unfortunately continue today more than a decade later.” It is crucial that before the Trump administration pursues a tête-à-tête with Mahmoud Abbas that this is fully realized and appreciated. Incitement by the PLO continues to this day.
At the end of the summer of 2016, U.S. District Judge John G. Koeltl (who wrote the opinion) struck down the $655.5 million verdict against the PA and the PLO. All three judges who ruled against the verdict were either appointed by Bill Clinton or Barack Obama. Kent Yalowitz said after the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ strict ruling, “The very terrorists who prompted the law have now hidden behind the U.S. constitution to avoid responsibility for their crimes.” The victims’ families plan to appeal to the Supreme Court.
Senators Chuck Grassley, the original sponsor of the 1992 Anti-Terrorism Act, and Richard Blumenthal in a bipartisan way are planning to submit an amicus brief to the Supreme Court urging them to review the case. In the next few weeks a “Dear Colleague” letter will be sent to other members of the Senate asking them to sign on. It is essential that as many senators as possible join in the brief. As President Trump embarks on a dialogue with Mahmoud Abbas, it is more imperative than ever for all to help in this vital effort.
Joseph M. Frager is a physician and lifelong activist.