U.S. Trial of Palestinian Authority to Begin Next Week

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Emergency services in action after the Sbarro bombing in Jerusalem in 2001.Credit: Archive: Eyal Warshavsky / BauBau

Jury selection will begin next week in a trial in which the Palestinian Authority is facing claims by the families of American victims of terrorist attacks in Israel in the early 2000s.

A federal appeals court in New York decided earlier this week that the trial will proceed, foiling a last-ditch attempt by the PA and the Palestine Liberation Organization, its codefendant, to have the trial dismissed, according to Bloomberg.

Filed more than a decade ago, the complaint charges the two organizations with responsibility for attacks in which the plaintiffs or members of their families were injured or killed.

The PLO and PA deny the charges. It is the first time that anti-terrorism charges have been brought against them in an American court.

“We are pleased that the court has once again rejected the increasingly desperate attempts by the Palestinian Authority and the PLO to avoid trial on the merits,” said Kent Yalowitz, lead lawyer for the plaintiffs, in a statement after the ruling.

The lead plaintiff is Mark Sokolow, a New York-lawyer who suffered shrapnel wounds to his leg and his face in a January 2002 bombing.

Attorneys for the defendants claimed in papers filed with the court that the PLO and the Authority were not "at home" in the United States for purposes of jurisdiction.

They also argued that the lawsuit would undermine the PA's ability to govern and that a large judgment could possibly render it bankrupt.

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