U.S. Court Freezes all PA and PLO Assets

Nineteen months after a U.S. Federal Court awarded $116 million to the parents and children of a victim of Arab terrorism, the same court has frozen all PA assets in the U.S. - $3.5 billion worth.

Hillel Fendel , | updated: 12:49 PM

In January 2004, the Rhode Island Federal Court ruled that Hamas and the Palestinian Authority must pay $116 million to the parents and children of Yaron and Efrat Ungar. Yaron, an American citizen, and his wife Efrat were murdered in an Arab terrorist drive-by shooting in 1996, near the city of Beit Shemesh. The couple's two sons, who were 1 and 2 years old at the time, have grown up with Efrat's grandparents, Rabbi Uri and Yehudit Dasberg of Alon Shvut.

Yehudit Dasberg (pictured) told Arutz-7 today, "We're thrilled that at least an American court knows how to deal with terrorism."

The court awarded the two children $30.5 million each, and $15 million to the Dasberg grandparents, in the framework of U.S. terrorism laws. However, repeated attempts by the Dasbergs' lawyer, Atty. David Strachman, to effect the payment were thwarted. "The PLO knows many tricks, and they used them," Mrs. Dasberg said.

"Finally," she said, "our lawyer was visiting here a couple of weeks ago, and I suggested to him that he approach the judge and tell him that it's no longer just an issue of our not getting paid - it's also a question of respect for U.S. law. The PLO is simply trampling the law. Strachman liked the idea, contacted the court, and within a week, the freeze-order was issued. This is a major thing, something on State Department level, because all U.S. banks are now forbidden from honoring even a small check written by the PLO. This order is completely stopping all their diplomatic activity in the U.S. - as one of their representatives complained to our lawyer on the phone."

Despite the enormous amounts of assets that were frozen - more than 30 times the amount awarded in damages - Mrs. Dasberg is not optimistic that the PA will pay the money in the very near future. "The disengagement has had so many negative ripple effects," she said, "and this is another one: It has emboldened the Arabs on many fronts, and they see no reason to give in. They will fight it, and try to take it to the Supreme Court... On the other hand, Bush wants to be known as a great fighter against terrorism, so he will have a hard time if his government retracts a decision against a terrorist organization. So we will see."

Mrs. Dasberg said that she would give up her claim to the money if the PA would simply agree to have the lands of Tzurif - an Arab village near Gush Etzion where the murderous terrorists were based - confiscated. "But they will of course never agree to this," she said. "I would even suffice with the handing over of a mosque."

She noted that Tzurif is remembered in infamy as the source of many cruel terror attacks, beginning in early 1948 with the famous "Lamed Heh" - the 35 Jews who were cruelly butchered while on their way to deliver food and supplies to the Etzion bloc.

More recently, Tzurif murderers carried out the Apropos cafe attack in Tel Aviv in which three women were killed in 1997; kidnapped and murdered Sharon Edry in September 1996 - his body was only discovered seven months later; and committed the drive-by murders of IDF Dr. Oz Tivon and Sgt. Yaniv Shimol in Jan. 1996, of Ze'ev, Uri and Rachel Munk in July 1996, and of the Ungar couple in June 1996. The late Tourism Minister and IDF Maj.-Gen. Rehavam Ze'evi said in 1997 that the village deserves to be "wiped off the face of the earth."