US judge: PA can cover up link to 2002 terror attack

Citing "privileged and protected" information, judge orders memo connecting PA to suicide bombing returned or destroyed.

January 14, 2013 16:59
1 minute read.
Abbas talks against backdrop of Arafat image

arafat abbas 521. (photo credit: Courtesy)


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A US judge ruled that the Palestinian Authority has the right to cover up evidence of its connection to a 2002 suicide bombing in Karnei Shomron which killed three teenagers, The New York Post reported Monday.

According to the report, a two-page memo directly linking the PA to the terror attack was inadvertently handed over to lawyers suing the Palestinian government for $300 million on behalf of the parents of two American teens killed in the bombing. An Israeli teen also was killed in the attack.

The New York Post claimed that the document reveals a “close relationship” between the bomber, Sadeq Hafez, an operative for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terror group, and Raed Nazal, a captain in the Palestinian Authority security forces who allegedly planned the attack.

At the time, Nazal allegedly “was both a salaried officer in the PA’s security services and a leader of the PFLP cell” which carried out the bombing.

The NY Post further reported that the memo, written in April 2012 by Maj. Ziad Abu Hamid of the PA’s General Intelligence Service, details “at least six other critical facts” about the attack and “clearly establishes the [PA]’s material support and liability."

Nevertheless, Washington, DC, federal Judge Richard Leon ordered the memo destroyed or returned to the PA, citing “privileged and protected” information.

The plaintiffs’ lawyers, David Schoen and Robert Tolchin, denounced the ruling, asserting that the PA's "illegitimate cover-up efforts must not be permitted with impunity.” Otherwise, they claimed, “this critically important evidence of murder will likely be lost forever.

“It would also deprive Congress of the kind of evidence it must have to evaluate whether to continue funding [the PA] only to see the money go to support and reward terrorism against Americans.”

Lawyers for the Palestinian Authority did not return a request for comment.

In court papers, however, they said the memo was mistakenly handed over in a Sept. 12 deposition. They said the memo “retains the protection of the privilege despite the inadvertent disclosure.”

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