Intifada is the name commonly given to the wave of Palestinian terrorism that engulfed Israel in the last decade, killing, maiming, wounding and traumatizing thousands of people. The word is usually translated as “uprising,” as if that awful violence was a spontaneous event. Of course it was nothing of the kind, as a federal court in New York confirmed last week.
The horrific shootings and bombings inflicted on Israel in those years constituted a terror war orchestrated by the vile Yasser Arafat and ended only when Israeli security forces cornered him in his West Bank headquarters and built a security barrier to keep murderers away from civilians.
Now the jury verdict in New York affirmed what had been obvious from the start: The wretched campaign of murder and mayhem was supported, aided and abetted by the Palestinian Authority, the governing body for Palestinians in the disputed territories, and its parent organization, the Palestine Liberation Organization.
And let’s not forget that the victims included Americans. This verdict came in a civil suit filed under the Anti-Terrorism Act, that gives U.S. citizens harmed by international terrorism the right to seek redress in federal court. This lawsuit was brought on behalf of 33 Americans killed and more than 450 injured in suicide bombings and shootings from 2002 to 2004.
One father told of watching TV and suddenly realizing that one of the dead bodies in a bombing in Israel was his daughter. A Brooklyn woman testified how the murder of her husband in a bus bombing in Jerusalem left their children devastated and depressed.
The trial disclosed that the perpetrators and plotters of these atrocities numbered employees, policemen and commanders from the authority and the PLO. After attacks the authority promoted and continued to pay the killers even if they were in Israeli jails. In her testimony, Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the PLO executive committee and a familiar figure on TV as a Palestinian spokesperson, was asked about the salaries for imprisoned terror planners and payments to families of suicide bombers. She likened them to “social security” and “welfare” payments.
The Palestinian Authority and PLO were assessed $655.5 million in damages. They say they can’t pay and promise an appeal.
The PLO has a long blood-soaked history of terrorism dating to the 1960s. The authority is supposed to be the “moderate” representative of the Palestinian people who can negotiate with the Israelis. The sad fact is that the authority has rejected or ignored every generous peace plan offered by Israel. That’s been true even under the leadership of President Mahmoud Abbas, the successor to the rotting-in-hell Arafat and who is often seen in the West as a legitimate partner for peace with Israel.
The facts say otherwise. Under the leadership of Abbas, Palestinian official media, schools and society in general continue to glorify terrorists and dream of a Middle East without Israel on the map. A recent Facebook posting by Abbas’ Fatah party advocated rocket attacks and the “end of Israel,” according to the monitoring group Palestinian Media Watch.
This well deserved court verdict might have gotten more media notice were it not for the ginned-up controversy over Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaking to Congress this coming week without first getting White House approval.
The legal outcome also confirms the understanding of Americans about the Palestinian-Israel conflict. A new Gallup poll finds that 70 percent of Americans view Israel favorably while only 17 percent hold that opinion of the Palestinian Authority. Democrat members of Congress thinking of boycotting Netanyahu’s speech about Iran might want to take a look about those numbers.