PLO's DC landlord may be violating US terror laws

Shurat Hadin also warnes telecoms company Verizon of legal consequences of providing services to PLO.

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January 23, 2012 17:27
2 minute read.
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Israeli human rights group Shurat Hadin (the Israel Law Center) sent a letter on Monday to the Palestinian Liberation Organization’s Washington landlord, Endeka Enterprises LLC, warning it that providing premises to the organization could violate anti-terror laws.

The Law Center also sent a similar legal warning to Verizon, the telecommunications company that provides telephone services to the PLO’s Washington mission. The PLO has maintained a Mission to the United States in DC since 1994, and the operation incorporates several departments, including political, consular and government affairs.

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According to Law Center director attorney Nitsana Darshan- Leitner, by providing services to the PLO, Verizon and Endeka Enterprises could violate strict US anti-terror laws, which prohibit providing terror groups with material assistance.

In their letters to Endeka and Verizon, the Law Center says that any provision of material support or resources to the PLO violates the criminal and civil provisions of the United States Code, and of the criminal provisions of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act. The Law Center also references a 2010 US Supreme Court decision, Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project, which found that providing any assistance or support – even if that support is apparently benign – to designated terror groups is a criminal act.

Providing premises or telephone services to terror groups “would constitute the type of seemingly innocuous support that would render companies criminally and civilly liable,” the Law Center said.

An umbrella organization, the PLO is comprised of several constituents, including the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, officially designated as a “foreign terror group” under US law.

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In December, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) – also designated terror groups under US law – reached a strategic partnership agreement with the PLO whereby they agreed to join a provisional PLO leadership. Since PLO funding is shared among its constituents, Hamas and the PIJ will be recipients of PLO finances, the Law Center said.

“The PFLP, which is a designated terrorist organization that American citizens and companies are prohibited from providing services to, is an integral part of the PLO and shares the PLO’s budget,” said Darshan-Leitner. “By providing services to the PLO, companies like Endeka Enterprises and Verizon are in fact providing service to and benefitting the PFLP, and are thereby violating federal antiterrorism laws, and aiding and abetting Palestinian terrorism.”

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