Vehicles drive on Highway 443 past the West Bank Jewish settlement of Beit Horon.
(photo credit: AMMAR AWAD / REUTERS)
The Jerusalem District Court has held the Palestinian Authority and several Palestinian terrorists liable for NIS 62 million in civil wrongful- death damages for murdering three Israelis in a shooting attack on Route 443 on August 25, 2001.
The court specifically said that the PA was equally responsible, both because of the terrorists’ connection to it and because the PA had solicited and aided the cell in perpetrating the attack.
The decision was handed down on Friday and the court spokesman’s office announced it on Sunday.
In August 2001, the Second Intifada was already in full swing and portions of the PA security forces were taking part in attacks against Israelis.
The three Israelis murdered in the attack were Sharon Ben-Shalom, her husband Yavin Ben-Shalom and her brother Doron Savri.
Two of the Ben-Shaloms’ children, Efrat and Shahar, survived when their mother used her body to shield them from the bullets.
The division of damages is NIS 24.8 million against the PA and NIS 37.2 against the terrorists themselves.
The court for the most part accepted the plaintiffs’ case while rejecting the PA’s argument that the plaintiffs were not entitled to new damages after already having been compensated by the National Insurance Institute as victims of terror.
Still, the court did reject attempts by the plaintiffs to increase the damages awarded to the level of the judgment in the United States against the PA for several hundred million, largely because Israel’s law of damages often leads to smaller awards.
Meir Indor of the ALMAGOR victims group which was involved in the case said, “While the Palestinian Authority continues to wash its hands clean before the cultured- Western world, it supports terrorists at every stage of the process.”
“From incitement to terror to financing to equipping for terror acts... [to] accompanying terrorists in jail through the minister or office for prisoners who transfers payments to terrorists and their families,” Indor said the PA has played a double game – talking peace while aiding terrorism.
An earlier ruling by Judge Moshe Drori in September 2014 had said that the PA and the terrorists could be held liable, but had not set the amount of damages.
There are currently some other parallel civil damage cases against the PA in Israeli courts, but it is unclear how the plaintiffs will be able to go about collecting damages or whether the government will try to cooperate with them or instead stay out of the issue to avoid a diplomatic standoff.
The Foreign Ministry referred the issue to the Justice Ministry. The Justice Ministry had not responded by press time.