US Judge Rejects Israeli Suit Against Al Jazeera
A US judge ruled this week Israeli victims of Hizbullah rocket strikes in 2006 cannot sue Al Jazeera on the grounds the broadcaster intentionally helped the terror organization target civilians by reporting the sites of explosions in real-time, Reuters reported Wednesday.
The plaintiffs requested $1.2 billion in damages and punitive damages to be determined in court from Al Jazeera saying the Qatar-based news network helped Hizbullah militants target their rockets more accurately during the 34-day war with Israel.
The lawsuit, filed a year ago, argued a Manhattan court had jurisdiction over the case because US citizens had been also been harmed in Hizbullah's attacks.
But Manhattan federal court Judge Kimba Wood dismissed the suit on the grounds that the victims had failed to show Al Jazeera had intended to directly aide Hizbullah.
"Plaintiffs have offered no facts suggesting that defendant knew it was providing anything to Hizbullah," Wood said, adding the victims "have offered no facts suggesting that Hizbullah viewed defendant's broadcasts."
The plaintiffs also sought papers establishing Al Jazeera was liable for "aiding and abetting terrorism" under the Alien Torts Claims Act. Wood, however, cited an appeals court decision, ruling, "corporations cannot be held liable for violations of customary international law."
The war between Israel and Hezbollah lasted from July 6 to August 14, 2006. The fighting was halted by a United Nations Security Council resolution.
The case is Kaplan et al v Al Jazeera, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, No 10-05298.