US Supreme Court lets PLO off hook for terrorism

Court says families of US citizens killed in PLO terror attacks cannot sue for damages under US anti-terrorism laws.


US Supreme Court
US Supreme Court

The US Supreme Court Monday rejected a bid to make the Palestine Liberation Organization pay $655 million in damages to victims of six attacks in Israel.

The court's decision aligned with the view of President Donald Trump's administration, which in this case saw no reason for the high court to intervene despite strains in US relations with the PLO.

The court upheld a New York appeals court ruling that in 2016 found that the US courts lacked jurisdiction over attacks in Israel, even though Americans were among the dead and wounded.

The attacks were carried out between 2002 and 2004 by militants of Hamas or the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the armed wing of the PLO's largest faction, Fatah, which governs the Palestinian Authority.

A jury in 2015 had awarded American survivors of the attacks and relatives of those killed $218.5 million in damages after they sued the PLO and the Palestinian Authority in New York.

The award was automatically tripled to $655 million under US anti-terrorism laws.

The US government at the time expressed concern that the award would bankrupt the Palestinian Authority.