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PLO leader responds to US court ruling that PA must pay terror victims: The PA and the ‎PLO will "appeal the ruling" ‎

On Feb. 23, 2015, the US Federal District Court in New York ruled that the Palestinian Authority is financially liable for $655 million in damages to victims of terror attacks. 10 American families who are all victims or related to victims of Palestinian terror, sued the PA for damages, saying that the PA was responsible for the terror attacks in which they were personally injured or their relatives were killed during the years of the PA terror campaign (Intifada, 2000-2005). PLO Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi responds to the ruling:

Headline: "Ashrawi: New York court ruling was based on false claims"‎
‎"PLO Executive Committee Member Hanan Ashrawi stressed yesterday [Feb. 24, 2015] that the ‎PLO and the PA are determined to appeal the ruling of the US Federal [District] Court in New York, ‎which held them responsible for six bombing attacks carried out by Palestinians in Israel, and ‎ordered to pay compensation to the killed [victims' families].‎
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Ashrawi stated that the Court's accusations were based on false and unfounded claims, while failing ‎to immediately set a date for the submission of an appeal.‎
Ashrawi spoke at a press conference she had organized at the central PLO headquarters in El-‎Bireh, during which she described the [court's] ruling to impose a fine as an act of extortion, coming ‎at a time when Israel continues to seek to bring down the PLO and the PA, who are committed to a ‎peaceful solution according to international laws and resolutions.‎
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Ashrawi denied there was any link between the PLO and the PA to the events that formed the ‎subject of the court's ruling. She also noted that they had occurred during Israel's invasion of the ‎towns of theWest Bank and its occupation of the Muqata'a, the [PA] Presidential Headquarters in ‎Ramallah, which created a state of complete anarchy and the theft [by Israel] of the Palestinian ‎documents used by the court...‎
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Ashrawi, who had already testified before the court, said the court had refused to refer to Palestine ‎as a state, [but rather] considered the Palestinians as an entity or group that had carried out ‎‎[military] operations.‎

She added: 'US law does not allow for sovereign states to be prosecuted but it does not recognize ‎either the State of Palestine nor Palestinian sovereignty, but rather treats us as if we were some ‎group that has carried out an incident, with no claim to immunity, while most countries of the world ‎have recognized us [as a state].' She also stressed that the PLO and the PA do not have the funds ‎to pay the compensation.‎
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She said: 'Individuals with US and Israeli citizenship have decided to take advantage of the US ‎justice system; but this does not contradict the facts, and we maintain that the PLO and the PA had ‎absolutely nothing to do with these [terror] actions. These are false and unfounded claims, and we ‎reiterate that these incidents were not carried out based on PLO or PA decisions, regardless of the ‎titles (i.e., positions in the PA) of those who carried out the incidents.'‎
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She added: 'We stress that we will appeal the ruling, and we wholeheartedly believe that we will win ‎the appeal. We do not doubt or fault the US justice system in any way.'‎
Ashrawi noted that there are precedents in which American courts refused to try institutions and ‎organizations that are outside the US...‎
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Dr. Ashrawi noted that this ruling to impose 218 million dollar [payment] on the PLO and the PA ‎comes at a moment of severe financial crisis for Palestine, with Israel's robbing Palestinian tax ‎money and its working to bring down the PA, the government's inability to pay its workers' salaries, ‎and the thwarting of the PLO's and the PA's plan to comply with international law - while Israeli ‎individuals are taking advantage of their US citizenship to extort money.‎
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She added: 'The painful thing is that Israel, since the 1967 occupation alone, has killed over 70,000 ‎Palestinians, arrested 850,000 [others], stolen lands and resources, and expropriated the liberty, ‎rights and lives of the Palestinians. I doubt that any sum of money would be sufficient to pay any ‎kind of compensation to the Palestinian people.'‎

She continued: 'One cannot blame the victims for their reactions. This is an oppressive occupation ‎founded on injustice and tyranny, that must come to an end.'‎

Ashrawi finished her speech by saying that this event highlights the need to turn to the International ‎Criminal Court, because Israel is a state that violates the law, that works in ways that violate ‎the rights ofthe Palestinians, and we insist on Israel's being tried by international law and ‎the sovereignty of international law."‎
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