Federal Judge George Daniels in Manhattan decided Wednesday he has jurisdiction to preside over litigation resulting from a lawsuit filed against the Palestine Liberation Organization by victims of terrorist bombings in Israel, the Associated Press reports.
In his written order Daniels noted that the PLO had offices in Washington and New York during the three-year period when the bombings occurred, which created sufficient connection to the United States to allow the lawsuit to proceed in his court.
The ruling pertains to a 2004 lawsuit seeking up to $3 billion in damages as a result of attacks between January 2001 and February 2004. The Jerusalem-area attacks killed 33 people and wounded hundreds, including scores of U.S. citizens.
In 2008 U.S. President George W. Bush expressed concern over the lawsuit due to his Administration's policy of pouring funds into the cash-strapped Palestinian Authority.
"The United States supports just compensation for victims of terrorism from those responsible for their losses and has encouraged all parties to resolve these cases to their mutual benefit," U.S. attorneys wrote. "At the same time, the United States remains concerned about the potentially significant impact that these cases may have on the financial and political viability of the defendants."
Daniels, who began his legal career as a Trial Attorney for the Legal Aid Society of New York, is a seasoned jurist. After several years with the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York and a brief stint as Counsel to former New York City Mayor David Dinkins, Daniels was appointed by Governor George Petaki as Justice of the Supreme Court of the State of New York from 1995 to 2000.
He was appointed to the Federal bench in 2001.