PLO Admits it Can't Pay Fine in NY Terror Lawsuit

PLO leader admits the organization and PA don't have funds for $655 million in damages for terror attacks, following landmark ruling.

Ari Yashar ,

Hanan Ashrawi
Hanan Ashrawi
Issam Rimawi/Flash 90

In response to a groundbreaking New York court ruling last week finding that the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and Palestinian Authority (PA) are liable for terrorist attacks during the PA terror campaign of 2000-2005, the PLO has admitted it can't pay the damages.

The case by Shurat Hadin led the PA and PLO to be ordered to pay $655 million in damages to the American victims of the attacks.

PLO Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi admitted last Tuesday that "the PA and the (Palestinian Liberation) Organization lack the funds necessary to pay these compensations or fines," as translated and revealed by Palestinian Media Watch (PMW).

Her comment comes as Israel is freezing $127 million per month in taxes collected for the PA, as a penalty for the PA suing Israel for "war crimes" at the International Criminal Court (ICC), a unilateral move that breaches the 1993 Oslo Accords which formed the PA.

"This is the third month in a row that we're taking loans from the banks," PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas admitted on Wednesday, although the PA has been wallowing in massive debt for many long years.

Ashrawi noted on the New York case that "it is also extremely difficult to find a US law firm willing to defend the PLO, PA or the Palestinians. In the next stage, the stage of appeal, we will have a firm capable of achieving what we are entitled to."

Making the unfounded claim that the PA is a state, she added "we were denied (the status) known as 'sovereign immunity' to which we are entitled as a sovereign state. This is a very serious matter, for the entire world recognizes us as a state, except for a few countries, including the US."

PMW unveiled that Issa Karake, PA Parliament Member and director of the Commission of Prisoners, said last month that the ruling "sets a dangerous precedent that contradicts international law," opining that it is "forbidden to deal with or appear before these courts, since their objective is to harm the PLO's standing."

Terming the lawsuit "political extortion," he said it is "fitting that we start suing Israeli officers, soldiers and officials in the courts of countries whose laws allow for it, and that we hurry to turn to the International Criminal Court in order to sue the occupation army and its commanders for the war crimes they perpetrated and continue to perpetrate against our people."