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Wednesday, April 6, 2011     GET REAL

U.S. judge allows $3 billion lawsuit against PLO

WASHINGTON — A U.S. judge has approved a lawsuit against the Palestinian Authority and the Palestine Liberation Organization by victims of suicide bombings in Israel.


U.S. federal district court judge George Daniels ruled against a defense motion to dismiss a $3 billion suit by Americans against the PA and the Palestine Liberation Organization. Daniels said the relatives of the victims of Palestinian attacks acted properly when they served the suit against the PLO chief representative in the United States, Hassan Abdul Rahman.

"Rahman, based upon the overwhelming competent evidence produced by the plaintiffs, was the chief representative of the PLO and PA [Palestinian Authority] in the United States at the time of service," Daniels, who sits in the New York district, said in his March 30 ruling. "Rahman was thus a valid service for the agent of process on the PLO and the PA."

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The Americans filed a suit for damages for the killing or injury of their relatives in Palestinian attacks from 2001 through 2004. In all, the seven attacks attributed to the PLO killed 33 people in Jerusalem, many of them Americans.

Daniels ruled that both the PLO and PA have maintained a presence in Washington. The judge said the PA presence operated through the PLO office in Washington, and that the facility was also paid for by the PA.

"The PA's Ministry of Finance — rather than the PLO headquarters in Gaza — paid for the vast majority of the D.C.'s office's income," the ruling said.

The PA was also said to have retained a U.S. consulting firm in a multi-million-dollar and multi-year contract. The ruling said the company lobbied for the PA in Washington arranged meetings and lunches with U.S. officials in a project that cost millions of dollars from 1999 through 2001.

"These agents also promoted the PA's interests through television and radio appearances on occasion, and pursuant to the retainer agreement, provided the PA with consulting and public relations services that would not have been disclosed in the required public filings as such," the decision said.

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