Courtroom sketch of US terror trial.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The Palestinians don’t have the money to compensate families of terror victims as ruled by a jury in New York earlier this week, PLO executive committee member Hanan Ashrawi said Tuesday.
Ashrawi’s announcement came in response to the jury’s verdict, which found the PLO and the Palestinian Authority liable for supporting terrorist attacks in Israel more than a decade ago.
The jury in Manhattan federal court awarded $218.5 million in damages to 10 American families. The sum is expected to rise to $655.5 million under a 1992 US anti-terrorism law.
“The PLO and the Palestinian Authority don’t have the money to pay compensation to these families,” Ashrawi told reporters in Ramallah.
She pointed out that the PA has been facing a severe financial crisis that has been aggravated by Israel’s decision to withhold tax revenues belonging to the Palestinians.
“All the money in the world won’t be sufficient to compensate the Palestinians for what they have been subjected to as a result of the Israeli occupation,” Ashrawi said.
She said that the Palestinians would appeal the verdict. She also claimed that many of the witnesses who appeared before the Manhattan court were “soldiers in the occupation army who stole documents from the Mukata (presidential compound in Ramallah).”
Ashrawi said that the testimonies of the soldiers should be dismissed “because they had participated in occupying Palestinian territories.” She denied any link between the terrorist attacks and the PLO and PA.