Washington, DC’s Court of Appeals ruled on Sunday that a civil suit filed
against the Palestinian Authority by the family of Mark Parsons, a US State
Department contractor killed in a Gaza bombing during the second intifada, can
The appeals court ruling overturns a previous ruling in the US
District Court, in which judges had ruled in favor of the Palestinian
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The Parsons’s attorney, Steven Perles, told The Jerusalem Post
that the US District Court for the District of Columbia had ruled that the case
did not have enough evidence to allow it to go to trial.
appeals court disagreed with that verdict.
The Parsons family is suing
under the US Anti-Terrorism Act, which allows US citizens to bring civil suits
against foreign terrorists.
The 31-year-old Parsons, a security
contractor for Dyn- Corp International, was part of a US convoy when he was
killed in a roadside bomb blast in Gaza in October 2003.
claims that the PA provided material assistance to the terrorists who carried
out the deadly attack and that both the PA and the Palestinian Liberation
Organization are at least partly responsible for the attack that killed
They say they have evidence that proves PA security officials
deliberately turned a blind eye when the bomb was planted, and that they leaked
information about the US convoy’s movements.
“[The appeals court] stated
that the Parsons family had produced enough evidence that the PA assisted the
terrorists who planted a bomb that killed Mark Parsons to allow the case to
continue to trial,” said Perles, whose Washington, DC-based firm has represented
over a thousand terror victims and their families.
On October 15, 2003,
Parsons was part of a team providing security for a US State Department convoy
of three armored SUVs as it traveled through the Gaza Strip. Meters from a
manned Palestinian checkpoint on the Salahadin Road, a massive underground bomb
exploded killing Parsons and two of his coworkers, John Branchizio and John M.
Although both PA and FBI investigations turned up forensic and
other evidence that the bomb that killed Parsons matched in type and structure
devices used by terrorists from the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) arrested
in connection with the bombing, neither the PA, Israel or the USA have ever
publicly identified the bomber responsible for Parsons’s death.
the Parsons family claims that the PA know exactly who was responsible for the
They allege that one of those responsible was Amer Qarmout, a
senior PRC operative who was also involved in several terror attacks against
Israelis, including a suicide attack in Dimona, before he was killed in an IAF
airstrike in 2008.
To support their claims against the PA, the Parsons
family has submitted documents to the court taken from a PA security forces’
investigative dossier compiled after the bombing.
the bombing, PA security and police forces launched an investigation, during
which six suspects were arrested and interrogated.
One of those suspects
PA investigation documents obtained by the Parsons’s counsel
revealed that Qarmout had admitted to interrogators that, several days before
the bombing, he had personally supervised the digging of a hole on the Salahadin
Qarmout said he had done so in order to plant a roadside bomb just
meters from a manned PA security checkpoint.
Qarmout also admitted to
possessing three bombs weeks before the explosion that killed Parsons. He told
interrogators that he had intended to plant one of these bombs on the Salahadin
PA investigators also noted that descriptions of the bomb Qarmout
admitted to possessing matched that used in the bombing.
documents further revealed that Qarmout had told interrogators he had
“introduced himself to [PA] soldiers and asked them to turn their attention away
from the men who were planting the device.”
This, the Parsons family
alleges, shows that the PA aided terror by deliberately agreeing to turn a blind
eye to the planting of the bomb.
And according to an anonymous memo in
the PA investigation file, PA National Security personnel “leaked information of
the arrival of US Embassy staff” to those who detonated the bomb.
Parsons family also submitted as evidence to support their argument a 2007
interview with former Palestinian security service head Muhammad Dahlan, in
which he claimed that Palestinian security forces “protected and hid half of the
Hamas leadership during the second intifada.”
The Parsons family has been
fighting for justice since 2003, when they first filed the
According to the Parsons’ attorney, Steven Perles, the case will
now be sent back to the US District Court where the lower court judges will
decide how to proceed.