(AP/Cliff Owen)
President Barack Obama

Yasser Arafat

PLO leader Yasser Arafat. (AP/Enric Marti)

The Obama administration may come to the aid of the Palestinian Authority against American victims of Palestinian terror who are suing for damages.

The Obama administration has signaled that it may intervene next week in a civil lawsuit in which 11 American families won a potential billion-dollar judgment from the Palestinian leadership over a series of terror attacks that killed or wounded dozens of US citizens, Fox News reports.

This move, critics say, would find the government siding with terrorists over its own citizens.

The families won a $218.5 million judgment in February in the Manhattan Federal Court in which a jury found the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and Palestinian Authority (PA) responsible for a string of terror attacks from 2001 to 2004 that killed 33 and injured hundreds.

American victim of terror

An American victim of terror in 2002 Palestinian terror attack at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. (AP)

A 1992 law that requires damages in such cases to be tripled, in addition to interest, would push the award to as much as $1.1 billion. It appears the Obama administration may try to seek favorable terms for the PA.

The judgment, which the Palestinians are appealing, would equal nearly a third of the PA’s annual operating budget, Fox News points out.

Late last month, the Department of Justice, which had not been involved in the 11-year-old case, informed the court that it was considering filing a “statement of interest” in the case by August 10, but officials would not elaborate. A source told Fox News that the Department of Justice (DOJ) was working with the State Department on the matter.

The Palestinian leadership will not be forced to pay unless the decision is upheld on appeal.

Kent Yalowitz of Arnold & Porter LLP in Washington DC,  working on behalf of the victims’ families together with Shurat HaDin-Israel Law Center, suspects the US government is considering intervening in order to help the cash-strapped Palestinian leadership avoid a court-ordered bond, $30 million per month in escrow.

Kent Yalowitz

Attorney Kent Yalowitz. (AP/Craig Ruttle)

“An administration which claims to be fighting terror is planning to weigh in favor of the terrorists,” Yalowitz told Fox News. “If our government actually came in favor of convicted terrorists, it would be a really sorry statement about the way our government treats terror.”

“Palestine is not a state, and is therefore not entitled to be treated like a state,” former US Ambassador John Bolton declared on Fox News. “It does not enjoy sovereign immunity and it would be wrong for the United States government to argue otherwise in federal court.”

“The US government and the DOJ should be ashamed that they are even considering telling an American court that the PLO and the PA can afford to pay convicted terrorists but cannot afford to pay the victims of those very same terrorists,” Alan Bauer, a family member, told Fox News.

The federal jury in February found the PLO and PA liable over six shootings and bombings between 2002 and 2004 in the Jerusalem area, which have been attributed to the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades and Hamas.

In two cases, the attackers were PA police officers; in another, a suicide bomber was shown to have worked closely with the PA’s military intelligence office in planning the attack; and in a 2004 suicide bombing of a bus, in which 11 were killed and 50 wounded, PA police and security officials admitted to participating in the plot and making the bomb.

In each case, the PA paid the families of suicide bombers and those later jailed for participation in the attack.

By: United with Israel Staff

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PA head Abbas and Hamas leader Haniyeh together.

PA head Abbas and Hamas leader Haniyeh together.

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We demand that all funding of the PA be stopped immediately. The brutal murder of Israelis committed by Palestinian terrorists throughout Israel is the latest result of ongoing PA incitement against Israeli citizens. Funding the PA means funding terror.