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Jerusalem Court Says Palestinian Authority Responsible for Acts of Terror

In an unprecedented ruling, the Jerusalem District Court said Monday that the Palestinian Authority (PA) bears responsibility for 17 terror attacks carried out by terrorist organizations such as the PLO, Hamas, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad during the Second Intifada, in which 34 Israelis were killed and seven others were wounded.

The Second Intifada, which started in 2000 and ended in 2004, was an orchestrated period of violence encouraged by the PA against Israeli civilians that included over 130 suicide bombings targeting city centers and other civilian infrastructure.

In his ruling, Judge Moshe Drori cited the PA’s so-called “pay to slay” scheme under which Palestinian terrorists and their families receive generous financial rewards for having murdered Israelis. He said both the PA and PLO had played a role in inciting acts of terror against Israeli civilians.

The bodies carry responsibility for “financial and practical support” to Palestinian terrorists, as well as ideological encouragement for the attacks, the judge added.

The PA’s own acknowledgement of having incited acts of terror and “the declared policy of the PLO and PA, led by Yasser Arafat, to carry out terror attacks against Israel,” also point to the Palestinian leadership’s responsibility, the court ruled.

“Even if we have only a penny left, we will give it to the martyrs, the prisoners and their families,” PA President Mahmoud Abbas vowed in July 2018, in defiance of U.S. demands. “We view the prisoners and the martyrs as planets and stars in the skies of the Palestinian struggle, and they have priority in everything,” he added.

Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, an attorney who represented the families, said that the decision by the court “proves that the intifada was not a popular uprising but a planned and deliberate war against the civilian population of Israel.”

The ruling could force the PA to compensate families for as much as one billion shekels ($279 million) in damages.