Daily Israel Report

U.S. Court Orders Destruction of Memo Linking PA to Terror

U.S. court rules that the PA has the right to cover up a document linking it to a 2002 suicide bombing in Israel that killed 3 teenagers.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 1/15/2013, 6:16 AM

Attorney Nitzana Darshan-Leitner
Attorney Nitzana Darshan-Leitner
Yoni Kempinski

A U.S. court has ruled that the Palestinian Authority (PA) has the right to cover up a document linking it to a 2002 suicide bombing that killed two Americans and one Israeli teenager.

The paper was mistakenly given to lawyers representing the teens' parents as plaintiffs in a $300 million lawsuit against the PA. The case is being tried in a Washington DC federal court, with plaintiffs represented by Nitsana Darshan-Leitner of Tel Aviv's Shurat HaDin-Israel Law Center, and New York attorneys Robert Tolchin and David Schoen.

The secret memo, dated April 2012, uncovers a very close relationship between the terrorist and a PA security officer who planned the bombing.

The document, written by Major Ziad Abu Hamid of the PA's intelligence service, additionally supports the alleged relationship between the defendants' material support and the bombing.

After the mistake was realized, the federal judge ruled that the memo be destroyed after PA lawyers stressed the information was protected.

Media reports have underlined that the memo reveals a link between a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terrorist group and a salaried officer in the Palestinian Authority's security services.

The terror victims' families have now filed for a stay of that order pending an appeal to the Court of Appeals in Washington, DC, as well as have written the Dept. of Justice, the FBI and several congressmen, asking them to intervene in the matter.

The families contend that they have evidence that the PA provides funding to the PLO and PFLP, including paying the rent for the designated terrorist group's offices in the PA-assigned areas of Judea and Samaria.

On February 16, 2002, a PFLP terrorist blew himself up in a packed pizzeria in the Israeli town of Karnei Shomron, killing American citizens Keren Shatsky, 15, and Rachel Thaler, 16 and Israeli teenager Nehemia Amar, 15.

Scott Shatsky, the father of one of the victims, remarked following Monday's court decision, "This decision is incomprehensible. It makes me feel that justice is not being done. Maybe I'm missing something, but to me it's just outrageous."

According to Darshan-Leitner, "We are hopeful that the Court of Appeals will understand the importance of this document and will reverse the ruling and not allow the memo to be destroyed. It is hard proof of the defendants' role in this heinous suicide bombing that took the lives of three young teenagers. We are insisting that the truth be allowed to come out and the details of the Palestinian Authority's role in this murderous terrorist attack be presented to an American jury."

In November, Shurat HaDin, representing 24 Americans living in Israel, filed a civil action against the State Department, claiming the latter was funding Arab terrorism in the Judea, Samaria and Gaza.

The suit, filed in the district court for Washington, D.C., claims that the State Department has failed to observe congressional safeguards, transparency, and reporting requirements in its funding of the Palestinian Authority.

In December, Shurat HaDin represented two families of American citizens in their successful $338 million lawsuit against the government of Syria.

The decision found that the government of Syria was responsible for providing material support and resources to the Kurdish Workers Party ("PKK"), a terrorist organization designated by the U.S. State Department.

Shurat HaDin-Israel Law Center is an Israeli based civil rights organization and world leader in combating the terrorist organizations and the regimes that support them through lawsuits litigated in courtrooms around the world. Established in 2003 and based in Tel-Aviv, Shurat HaDin works together with western intelligence agencies and volunteer lawyers around the world to file legal actions on behalf of victims of terror. It has succeeded in winning more than $1 billion in judgments, freezing more than $600 million in terrorist assets and in collecting $120 million in actual payments to the victims and their families.