TEL AVIV – The Palestinian Authority is liable for damages potentially reaching NIS 1 billion ($280 million) in a slew of terror attacks carried out against Israelis during the Second Intifada, a Jerusalem District Court ruled in a landmark case Monday.
The plaintiffs, represented by the Shurat Hadin NGO, mainly comprise the families of terror victims from 17 attacks carried out between 2000-2002. One outlier was a 1996 shooting attack at Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus.
According to Shurat Hadin’s president Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, the ruling was a “historic victory” that “proves that the intifada was not a popular uprising but a planned and deliberate war against the civilian population of Israel. ”
In his ruling, Judge Moshe Drori cited the PA’s so-called “pay-for-slay” scheme of paying stipends to terrorists and their families, saying that the Palestinian leadership was culpable for providing “financial, practical and ideological support” for the attacks.
He added that even though some of the attacks were carried out by other terror groups such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad, the PA bore responsibility for routinely issuing official statements claiming credit for all of the terror attacks during the Second Intifada. He quoted late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, and said it was “the declared policy of the PLO and PA … to carry out terror attacks against Israel.”
Drori also noted the PA’s policy of glorifying terror by naming schools, streets and other landmarks after terrorists.
The court case will now progress to the next stage where the families of terror victims are expected to ask for as much as NIS 1 billion in damages. At this stage, the ruling awarded the families NIS 5.5 million in legal fees to be paid by the PA.