Daily Israel Report

PA Settles Counter-Terror Lawsuits

The PA has finally responded to a lawsuit brought by the American family of a young couple murdered by terrorists as they drove home one night.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 2/15/2011, 11:02 PM / Last Update: 2/16/2011, 7:12 AM

Flash 90

The Palestinian Authority has settled a lawsuit brought by the American family of victims of PA terrorists. The PA had previously refused to respond to the case.

The case involved the June 1996 barbaric and random murders of Yaron and Efrat Ungar, which shocked the country. The young couple was shot and murdered while driving home from a wedding when their car was near Beit Shemesh. Their infant son, who was in the back of the car, survived the attack,. Another young son was at his grandparents,  Yehudit and Uri Dasberg of Alon Shvut, who raised the two young orphans.

Efrat was a graduate of the graphic arts department at the Emunah Women's College of Arts and Technology in Jerusalem. She had already made a name for herself as the creator of the cartoon character Dvir, modelled on her son, whose amusing antics were featured weekly in the Hatsofe newspaper's children's section and were being collected in book form.  Efrat's parents continued putting out the works she had not yet published posthumously, and they are a household word in religious Zionist homes.

The Ungars' family filed suit in 2000. In 2004, the family was awarded a default judgment of $116 million. Judge Ronald Lagueux ordered PA assets in the U.S. frozen.

An appeals court sent the case back after PA lawyers said they were willing to address the suit. Court files did not show the amount of money for which the new suit was settled.

A similar suit involved the murder of Aharon Ellis, a U.S. citizen killed by a PA terrorist in 2002 at a bat mitzva celebration in Hadera. A judge had awarded Leslye Knox, Ellis's widow, $192.3 million in damages after the PA failed to contest the case.

Knox's suit was resolved in 2009, in an out of court agreement.

United States courts are able to hear lawsuits from the estates of U.S. victims of terrorism regarding terrorist attacks outside U.S. borders under the Anti-Terrorism Act.