(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
Victims of Palestinian terror attacks will now be able to deliver lawsuits to accessible senior representatives of the organizations responsible for them, rather than to the organization itself, according to a precedent-setting decision handed down recently by the Jerusalem District Court.
The ruling involved lawsuits filed by Simcha Raizel and others against Islamic Jihad, and by Dov Weinstein and others against the Palestinian Authority and Hamas. Both plaintiffs are represented by attorney Nitzana Darshan-Leitner.
Darshan-Leitner delivered the lawsuit against Islamic Jihad to Bassam Sa'adi, a member of the terrorist organization's political leadership who has been in an Israeli jail since 2003.
The lawsuit against Hamas was delivered to Khaled Abu-Arfa, who served as minister for Jerusalem in the PA government when it was led by Hamas.
The Jerusalem Magistrate's Court originally rejected the lawsuits on the grounds that they had not been delivered to persons who qualified as being authorized to accept a court document according to Regulation 482 (a) of the Civil Procedures Law. The regulation says that the law allowing a plaintiff to deliver a lawsuit to someone other than the actual person being sued applies only to "business or work."
However, two weeks ago, Jerusalem District Court President Moussia Arad overturned the decision.
"The degree of intensity of the relationship between the terrorist organizations that are being sued and the senior officials who received the lawsuits is such that we can assume that they informed their organizations," wrote Arad. "In other words, we are talking about someone who is authorized to accept the lawsuit as it is intended in the regulation."
Furthermore, she continued, this conclusion is inescapable "in order to prevent an unacceptable situation in which murderous terrorist organizations which seek to harm Israel and its inhabitants and have in fact learned about the lawsuit that has been filed against them... yet it will not be possible to serve it because of a formality having to do with delivering it."
Darshan-Leitner said the court's decision "was a wise one. It chose not to allow the killers to evade the law. Since we cannot find the terrorist organizations in the yellow pages, we have no choice but to deliver the lawsuits through their activists."