Terror victim fights to collect $16m. award in US

"Justice is served, but now the fight begins," says Rachel, Moshe Saprstein's wife.

By ELLIS WEINTRAUB, AP
February 11, 2007 21:29
2 minute read.
Terror victim fights to collect $16m. award in US

terror attack 298.88. (photo credit: AP [file])

"Justice is served, but now the fight begins," said Rachel Saperstein, whose husband Moshe won a $16 million suit against the Palestine Liberation Organization in a Miami court last week. Moshe Saperstein, a former Jerusalem Post columnist and Yom Kippur War veteran, was attacked February 8, 2002 in the Gaza Strip by gunmen who sprayed his car with AK-47 rounds, wounding him in the hand, according to court documents. An Israeli woman in her 30s traveling in a separate car died in the attack, as did two IDF soldiers who responded to the gunfire. Saperstein, who holds dual US and Israeli citizenship, claimed that the Palestinian Authority and the PLO were involved in the attack. "We hope to collect from the PLO in order to teach them a lesson," Rachel Saperstein told The Jerusalem Post. "It is extremely expensive to commit terrorist acts. If the PLO learns terrorism costs too much, perhaps it will help keep Israelis safe." Saperstein's attorney, Robert Josefsberg, said the court delivered a just verdict and that he would work to identify potential Palestinian assets in the United States, Israel and elsewhere to satisfy the judgment. "The next steps will work on two levels," Josefsberg added. "On a universal level, societies will learn through outlets such as newspapers like The Jerusalem Post that atrocities are unacceptable. Not by the PLO or anyone else. All crimes will be punished and sanctioned. "On the level of individuals, we will work to get the PLO to pay Saperstein, but we are unsure how that will play out," he continued. "We all know the Palestinian Authority has money. These terrorists killed an Israeli woman and hurt Moshe. Moshe will limp along, but he is a fighter and will do the best he can. The Yom Kippur War did not stop him, and neither will the PLO." One gunman was killed in the clashes and two were apprehended, with the attack ultimately blamed on the Aksa Martyrs Brigade. The Palestinian groups were accused of organizing, facilitating and sponsoring attacks against Jewish civilians in Israel and parts of the West Bank. After the Palestinian defendants defaulted by not defending themselves, a federal jury heard evidence this week and returned the $16 million verdict. But under the overseas terrorism law, that amount will likely be tripled to $48 million. Lawyers for the Palestinian groups did contest the lawsuit on procedural grounds - including a claim that the Palestinian Authority and PLO were immune as a sovereign state - but withdrew after losing those rounds. Attempts to reach the lawyers, former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark and Lawrence W. Schilling, were not successful. About 10 similar lawsuits are pending in the United States, said Nabil Abuznaid, a PLO spokesman in Washington.


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