'Terror Victims Must Sue the PA'

Menashe Furr, Chairman of the Terror Victims Association: "Lawyers in the US filed a petition in name of terror victims against the PA."

Teneh Samuel, INNTV,

Unger Family
Unger Family
File Photo

Chairman of the Terror Victims Association Menashe Furr says that Israelis who are harmed in terrorist attacks can and should be suing the Palestinian Authority (PA) to demand damages.

Speaking with IsraelNN TV, Furr pointed to last week's ruling in a U.S. court in which presiding Judge Aharon Farkash said that Israel should seize funds designated for the PA and pay damages to the family of Efrat and Yaron Ungar. The Ungars were murdered 12 years ago by Arab terrorists, and a U.S. federal court awarded the family damages to be paid by the PA.

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"According to the American legal system, someone who is harmed may sue whoever harmed him anywhere, any time,” explains Furr. “There are assets of the terror organizations in the U.S. and the U.S. can seize the money from the Arab banks and transfer it to the terror victims. There are lawyers in the U.S. who filed a petition in the name of the terror victims, covering ten years retroactively, against the P.A.”

Furr explains that there are two reasons why terror victims don’t tend to sue the P.A. In addition to the fact that they don’t know that they can sue, Furr says that Israeli courts don’t rush to rule against the P.A., claiming that it is not a state entity; rather, it is treated as an organization.

"In 1996, there was a case in which a French citizen was injured in a terror attack,” says Furr. “He sued the P.A. and its leader, Yasser Arafat, and the court seized 5 million shekels from the P.A.'s money, but eventually the seizure was reversed, and he did not receive the money."

The ruling regarding the Ungar family is considered ground-breaking because, in general, the authorities tend not to confront the Palestinian Authority in the legal arena. Menashe Furr explains why: "It’s connected to the foreign and defense policies of the government, they are afraid that P.A. Arabs will sue the state of Israel in return, and so the state doesn’t want to open up that possibility. In addition, the state is leaving issues like compensation open for negotiation in future peace talks."