US FEDERAL JUDGE ORDERS DESTRUCTION OF SECRET MEMO THAT EVIDENCES
PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY ROLE IN 2002 TERRORIST MURDER OF THREE JEWISH TEENS
Tel Aviv, Jan. 14, 2013: A US court has ruled that the Palestinian Authority
(PA) has the right to cover up a document linking it to a 2002 suicide
bombing that killed two Americans and one Israeli teenager. The suicide
bombing was perpetrated by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine
(PFLP), a constituent faction of the Palestine Liberation Organization
The secret memo was mistakenly given to lawyers representing the teens'
parents as plaintiffs in a $300 million lawsuit against the PA and PLO. The
case is being tried in a Washington, DC federal court, with plaintiffs
represented by New York attorneys David Schoen and Robert Tolchin and
Nitsana Darshan-Leitner of Tel Aviv's Shurat HaDin – Israel Law Center. The
families contend that they have evidence that the PA provides funding to the
PLO and PFLP, including paying the rent for the designated terrorist group's
offices in the West Bank.
According to media reports, the memo reveals a close relationship between
the bomber and a PA security officer who planned the suicide attack. The
document, written by Major Ziad Abu Hamid of the PA's intelligence service,
additionally supports the plaintiffs' allegations that the PA provided
material support and resources for the PFLP bombing which took the lives of
the three teens and seriously injured numerous others.
Once attorneys for the defendants realized their mistake they sought to
retrieve the document from the plaintiffs insisting it was privileged. The
attorneys for the plaintiffs, however, argued that the memo was evidence in
the murder of American citizens and should not be returned to the
Palestinians nor destroyed. The defendants then asked the district court
judge to compel the plaintiffs to destroy the memo. In a recent ruling, the
court surprisingly granted the defendants' motion and ordered the plaintiffs
to destroy the document. The terror victims' families have now filed for a
stay of that order pending an appeal to the Court of Appeals in Washington,
On Feb. 16, 2002, a Palestinian terrorist blew himself up in a packed
pizzeria in the Israeli town of Karnei Shomron, killing American citizens
Keren Shatsky, 15, and Rachel Thaler, 16 and Israeli teenager Nehemia Amar,
Scott Shatsky, the father of one of the victims, remarked: "This decision is
incomprehensible. It makes me feel that justice is not being done. Maybe I'm
missing something, but to me it's just outrageous." The families have
written to the Department of Justice, the FBI and several congressmen asking
them to intervene in the matter.
Nitsana Darshan-Leitner stressed: "We are hopeful that the Court of Appeals
will understand the importance of this document and will reverse the ruling
and not allow the memo to be destroyed. It is hard proof of the defendants'
role in this heinous suicide bombing that took the lives of three young
teenagers. We are insisting that the truth be allowed to come out and the
details of the Palestinian Authority's role in this murderous terrorist
attack be presented to an American jury."
Attorney David Schoen stated in his filings with the court: "Defendants'
illegitimate cover-up efforts must not be permitted with impunity. If
returned or destroyed, 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 these
defendants, only to see the money go to support and reward terrorism against
In November, Shurat HaDin, representing 24 Americans living in Israel, filed
a civil action against the State Department claiming the latter was not
providing adequate oversight concerning its funding to the PA in the West
Bank and Gaza. The group alleges US funds were possibly being utilized for
terrorism. The suit, filed in the district court for Washington, D.C.,
claims that the State Department has failed to observe congressional
safeguards, transparency, and reporting requirements in its funding of the
Shurat HaDin—Israel Law Center is an Israeli based civil rights organization
and world leader in combating the terrorist organizations and the regimes
that support them through lawsuits litigated in courtrooms around the world.
Established in 2003 and based in Tel-Aviv, Shurat HaDin works together with
western intelligence agencies and volunteer lawyers around the world to file
legal actions on behalf of victims of terror. It has succeeded in winning
more than $1 billion in judgments, freezing more than $600 million in
terrorist assets and in collecting $120 million in actual payments to the
victims and their families.
For more information:
Shurat HaDin - Israel Law Center
10 Hata'as St., Ramat Gan 52512