Nearly a decade later and after a botched attempt to get the US government or the Supreme Court to cancel the case, the American victims of Hamas and their families have finally managed to bring about the most important terror finance case ever to go to trial in American history.
The trial against Jordan’s Arab Bank, the largest bank in the Middle East, is set to begin today. Suing are 297 US citizens whose loved ones have been killed or injured during the second Palestinian Intifada which took place between the years 2000-2005 and claimed the lives of some 4,000 people.
According to the lawsuit, the Arab Bank in Ramallah, in particular, has been involved in paying Palestinian Authority and “charity” stipends to terrorists, and since it operates in the United States, it is responsible for the terror activities by Hamas and can be forced to compensate victims.
In the lawsuit filed to the New York Federal Court, the complaint states that the transferred money was “ultimately designed to provide substantial material support to Palestinian terrorist organizations and to provide a meaningful incentive both to prospective recruits and to individuals contemplating the commission of independent acts of violence in the name of the 'popular resistance."
The lawsuit details five terrorist bombings and attacks deeply rooted in the hearts of Israeli citizens as well as Jews around the world. One of the cases mentioned is that of three-year-old Tehilla Nathansen, who was killed while sitting on her mother’s lap in the suicide bombing of a Jerusalem bus in August of 2003. Another horrific attack described is that of Jacob Mandell, an 8th-grader who was stoned to death by Palestinians, along with another friend, while hiking in May of 2001.
The plaintiffs are being represented by Hackensack, NJ attorney Gary Osen who claimed in an interview to the New Jersey Jewish News, that “There are only a limited number of financial institutions that operate in the Palestinian territories. It’s one thing to move a million dollars through a courier through a tunnel. The kind of money needed to run a proto-government can only be done through formal banking channels.”
Though they have given no official response to the case, the Arab Bank did deny liability last week in a message to the newspaper saying that the “Arab Bank has great sympathy for all victims of terrorism but is not liable for the tragic acts described by Plaintiffs.”