Tuesday, September 2, 2008

12 Years After the Fatal Attack There May be Justice

12 years after their parents were murdered in a shooting attack, the Unger children on Monday may have had a victory against the PA (Palestinian Authority) in a Jerusalem court. The Jerusalem District Court ruled that Israel has the authority to enforce an American ruling that grants the survivors of the attack $116 million.

Efrat and Yaron Unger were murdered in a shooting attack on June 9, 1996. Terrorists fired on their vehicle on the road between Bet Shemesh and Gush Etzion. Yaron was an American citizen and therefore, in 2000, the family led by the orphans, Yishai and Dvir, filed suit in the United States against the terror organizations, the PA and the PLO. They were awarded the settlement of $116 million.

Since the court ruling, the PLO has appealed unsuccessfully, and then stated in any event, the ruling cannot be enforced in Israel. On Monday, Justice Aaron Farkash pushed aside the claims of the PLO and the PA, accepting the argument on behalf of the victims, ruling the funds frozen following the US court decision will remain until such time the payment is actualized.
The American ruling was handed down in 2004, followed by three appeals, including the US Supreme Court. They were all rejected. Attorney Mordechai Heller was pleased, explaining this was a precedent-setting ruling, that an American judgment may be enforced in Israel.
Heller explained that the PA and the PLO have been stalling and foot-dragging, assuming the time was on their side since the judgment was not enforceable in Israel.
The victory however may be short-lived, since attorney Yossi Arnon, representing the PLO and the PA, has indicated the next stop is Israel’s Supreme Court. “The decision cannot be upheld,” stated Arnon. “Just because one is an American he cannot receive 200 times more than one who is not.”

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