The Palestinian Authority and the PLO were ordered to post a $10 million bond and make monthly payments of $1 million while they challenge a $655 million New York jury award to terrorism victims.
Lawyers for the victims had asked a judge to order the Palestinian Authority and the Palestinian Liberation Organization to pay $30 million a month as security until a decision on the appeal is made -- an amount the U.S. warned could bring down the Palestinian government and threaten the stability of the Middle East. On Monday, U.S. District Judge George Daniels imposed the lesser amount of bond suggested by the Palestinians.
“A million dollars a month is a rounding error to the Palestinian Authority,” Kent Yalowitz, a lawyer for 10 families, said in a phone interview, adding he may appeal.
A federal jury in Manhattan in February ordered the entities to pay $218.5 million to the victims and their families for six bombing and shooting attacks on Americans in Israel more than a decade ago. That award was tripled under a U.S. anti-terrorism law.
The two organizations were accused in a 2004 suit of supporting Hamas and the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, designated as terrorist groups by the U.S., by providing money, explosives, training and personnel used in the attacks from 2002 to 2004. The Palestinian Authority and PLO said they weren’t responsible for unapproved acts of low-level employees who participated in attacks and that senior officials didn’t aid the groups.
The Obama administration intervened in the case this month, saying a hefty bond payment could financially destabilize the Palestinian government while it appeals. Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken said if the Palestinian Authority were to collapse, the U.S. would face a crisis that could affect the security of the entire region.
The case is Sokolow v. PLO, 04-cv-00397, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).