A US federal court in Washington has set a new precedent with a default judgment that Iran, Syria, Hamas and Islamic Jihad can be held liable for wrongful death damages for the actions of certain “lone-wolf” attackers.
The game-changing decision means that terrorist groups and state sponsors of terrorism could be hit with million- and even billion-dollar judgments for the 2015-2016 “Knife Intifada” and for other lone-wolf attacks going forward, if there is proof connecting them to specific attacks behind the scenes.
Many lone-wolf attacks still have no connection to any group and someone who spontaneously grabs a kitchen knife to stab an Israeli soldier would not be included in this decision.
A default judgment means that none of the defendants in the case showed up to defend against the charges.
Sometimes in such cases, the parties make attempts to frustrate collection of the judgment at a later stage.
Although the decision in the approximately five-year-old case in favor of NGO Shurat Hadin and most of the 44 plaintiffs it represents was formally handed down on Sunday, it was only publicized Tuesday morning. A few plaintiffs’ cases were dismissed.
Often in such cases, some plaintiffs are dismissed due to questions about their US citizenship, minor status or foundational questions about the damage alleged.
The court only decided liability, and could take some more years to decide actual damages for certain “Knife Intifada”-era attacks, as well as some other attacks between 2008-2018.
Former COGAT official Aryeh Spitzen and anti-terrorism expert Noa Meridor were instrumental in the case by explaining to the court how terrorist groups and state sponsors of terrorism can work behind the scenes to facilitate terrorist attacks, which then may seem to be spontaneous lone-wolf attacks.
Their explanation was that Iran and Syria gave training, arms, financial and logistical support to Hamas and Islamic Jihad, who then helped foment and direct a range of the attacks during the 2015-2016 period under the guise of being lone wolves.
Shurat Hadin has won judgments against Iran, Syria, Hamas and terrorist groups in the past, but this is the first time that anyone has won a US judgment against such groups for sponsoring lone wolves.
More specifically, the court found that Hamas carried out the March 8, 2016, stabbing and murder of plaintiff Taylor Force, the January 27, 2016, stabbing of plaintiff Menachem Mendel Rivkin, the October 13, 2015, bus massacre, which killed plaintiff Richard Lakin, the August 19, 2011, rocket attack on Schmuel Brauner, the November 21, 2012, rocket attack emotionally injuring plaintiffs Daniella Parnas, Noa Parnas, Dana Parnas, and A.P. (a plaintiff whose name is under gag order) and the March 6, 2008, shooting and killing of plaintiff Avraham David Moses and injuring plaintiff Naftali Shitrit at the Merkaz HaRav Yeshiva.
The court also found that Islamic Jihad carried out the October 28, 2014, shooting of former MK Yehudah Glick, resulting in his severe physical injuries.
Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, Shurat Hadin’s president said, “this is a significant and precedent-setting decision for terrorist victims. The court found that behind each terrorist stands a terrorist organization, so this was not just a spontaneous wave of attacks… but rather a directed and orchestrated move by Hamas.”
She added the key to preventing such waves of violence is to go after the terrorist groups behind the wave.
Source » jpost