The Palestinian Authority (PA) and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) were found liable Monday, in a groundbreaking case against the territory for its role in encouraging and inciting terror attacks during the Second Intifada.
Legal rights group Shurat Hadin (Israel Law Center) helped represent the 11 families who charge the PA and PLO of inciting, supporting, planning and executing the seven terror attacks which killed American citizens between 2000 and 2004.
Following the verdict Monday, Shurat Hadin's Nitsana-Darshan Leitner and Kent Yalowitz welcomed the verdict.
“We are truly grateful that an American court has heard the evidence against the Palestinian Authority and the PLO and determined that suicide terrorism was indeed their official policy during the Second Intifada," Darshan-Leitner said in a statement. "This historic verdict against the defendants will not bring back these families' loved ones nor heal the physical and psychological wounds inflicted upon them but it truly is an important measure of justice and closure for them after their long years of tragic suffering and pain."
"We started out more than a decade ago with the intent of making the defendants pay for their terrorist crimes against innocent civilians and letting them know that there will eventually be a price to be paid for sending suicide bombers onto our buses and into our cafes," she continued. "The defendants have already been boasting that they will appeal the decision and we will never collect on the judgment. We will not allow them to make a mockery of the US court process, however, and we continue to pursue them until it is paid in full."
"If the PA hand PLO have the funds to pay the families of the suicide bombers each month, then they have the money to pay these victims of Palestinian terrorism," she added.
Yalowitz and Darshan-Leitner said, "We both express our admiration for the parents, children, wives, husbands and siblings of the victims who bravely traveled to New York to stand up to terror by testifying about their ordeals. We hope as lawyers that we have, after years of difficult and emotional effort, secured for the families today a small measure of justice."
$218.5 million dollars was awarded to the victims in the case - a figure that will be tripled to $655.5 million according to the anti-terrorism laws under which the case was brought, according to the New York Times.
Darshan-Leitner recently told Arutz Sheva that the verdict in the trial could be precedent-setting.
"The Palestinian Authority is trying to create this image of being an entity worthy of becoming a state, and a judgment declaring that the Palestinian Authority sponsors terrorism or is involved in terrorism would make harder their efforts to become a state," Darshan-Leitner explained. "It would have to work very hard to clear up its name."