Palestinians name Bush in lawsuit on use of U.S. weapons

Wedesday, March 12, 2003

WASHINGTON American-Palestinians have filted a class-action suit against Israel for the use of U.S. weapons in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

The suit is being brought on behalf of 19 U.S. citizens with families in the Palestinian Authority. In a brief filed with U.S. federal district court in Washington D.C., the families assert that Israel has violated international law in attacks on Palestinian civilians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

The Palestinians are also suing U.S. defense contractors for the Israeli use of their weapons in the war against the PA. The suit names most of the major weapons contractors that supply aircraft and subsystems to Israel, Middle East Newsline reported.

The Palestinian suit also names U.S. President George Bush, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, members of the former Israeli Cabinet and Israeli military officers. The defendants are moving to have the suit dismissed.

The suit was filed in July and will be heard soon. A jury is soon to be selected.

The Palestinians are being represented by Stanley Cohen, a New York-based attorney who defended Hamas leader Mussa Abu Marzouk in 1995. The United States deported Abu Marzouk to Lebanon after he was found to have violated the terms of his residency.

Cohen was detained in February as he tried to leave Israel, where he was collecting evidence for the suit. The attorney said Israeli authorities confiscated his personal computer at Ben-Gurion International Airport after a two-week stay.

The attorney said he was filing a complaint with the State Department for the Israeli seizure of his computer. An Israeli attorney, Lea Tsemel, has filed a petition to Israel's High Court banning security authorities from making any use of the data in Cohen's computer.

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