The Palestinian Authority cannot evade responsibility for its role in the 2001 terrorist murders of three Israelis and must pay compensation, the Jerusalem District Court announced Sunday.

A Jerusalem District Court judge ruled Sunday that the Palestinian Authority (PA) must pay compensation to the estates of married couple Yaniv and Sharon Ben-Shalom, and Doron Yosef Svari (Sharon’s brother), who were killed in August 2001 when gun-wielding Palestinian terrorists attacked their car.

The Ben-Shaloms’ two young daughters were also in the car at the time of the attack, but their mother protected them with her own body, and their injuries were not fatal. The girls were adopted and raised by family members.

The estates of the deceased filed a lawsuit in 2009 against the PA and the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO); they later dropped their claim against the PLO. The lawsuit alleged that the PA was legally responsible for the murders because it had provided weapons and funding to the terrorists who committed the deadly act. The PA’s defense was that, as a state, it was not subject to civil court claims.

Judge Moshe Drori, vice-president of the Jerusalem District Court, rejected the PA’s submission.

Members of Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade terrorist group (Photo: Wagdi  Ashtiyeh/Flash90)

Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade terrorists (Photo: Wagdi Ashtiyeh/Flash90)

‘Not Entitled to Immunity’

“It is infuriating to read the PA claim that providing money or weapons to perpetrators of terrorist attacks is part of its actions as a ‘state,’” Drori wrote in his legal decision. “Such claims should be rejected with both hands…. [The] PA is not entitled to immunity.”

The murders were perpetrated during the Second Intifada, at a time when Marwan Barghouti was a senior leader in the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades terrorist organization, which is affiliated with the PA’s Fatah wing. Barghouti is currently serving a life sentence in an Israeli prison for his roles in the terrorist murders of several Israeli civilians.

“The evidence shows that…Barghouti knew about the attack and was given a report following the act,” Drori wrote. “….The weapons and the funding were transferred from the Palestinian Authority to the commanders in the terrorist organizations, and the PA knew and understood the purpose for these transfers.”

‘Obligated to Pay Damages’

The PA is legally obligated to pay compensation to the victims, said the judge.

“Because the Palestinian Authority has an obligation to act with care with regard to an individual who may be injured by its weapons, the Authority is obligated to pay damages to that individual if this obligation is breached.”

The amount of the payout will be determined at a future court date.

Author: Joanne Hill
Staff Writer, United with Israel