Israeli Terrorism Victims Win Major Victory in Landmark Arab Bank Case

Case Expected to Proceed to Trial After Judge Rejects Defendants' Motion to


Jan 30, 2007, 00:00 ET from Motley Rice LLC

    NEW YORK, Jan. 30 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In a stunning victory for
 more than 1,600 survivors and family members of those killed by terrorism
 in Israel, U.S. District Judge Nina Gershon issued a major ruling that is
 expected to lead to a trial for their landmark civil action against Arab
     Judge Gershon rejected the bulk of a defense motion to dismiss the
 case, ruling instead that suicide bombing attacks and other forms of
 violence directed against civilians in Israel violate customary
 international law, that "plaintiffs have successfully stated claims for
 genocide and crimes against humanity," and that plaintiffs have established
 a cause of action under the Alien Tort Claims Act and the Antiterrorism
 Act. She found that the plaintiffs had pled sufficient evidence that "Arab
 Bank's provision of banking services facilitated money laundering and also
 facilitated the payments from [a Saudi Arabian] Committee to the suicide
 bombers' beneficiaries," creating "an incentive for suicide bombings."
     "This is a great victory for everyone -- not just those of us who have
 had our loved ones savagely murdered in acts of terrorism, but for everyone
 who loves and wants peace," said Iris Almog Schwartz, an Israeli citizen
 who lost her mother, father, brother and two nephews in the suicide bombing
 of Restaurant Maxim in Haifa on October 4, 2003.
     "Judge Gershon's ruling shows great wisdom in finding that the
 terrorists' campaign of mass murder of innocent civilians qualifies as
 genocide and crimes against humanity, and in holding the financiers of
 these atrocities accountable," Schwarz said. "We eagerly look forward to
 having our day in court."
     "I am deeply grateful," Schwarz added, "that the United States Courts
 remain a beacon to people of all nations who yearn for a world free from
 terror where justice prevails."
     "This is a remarkable, precedent-setting ruling that makes clear that
 no matter where they are located, any organization or individual that aids
 and abets genocide and crimes against humanity cannot evade accountability
 in the U.S. Courts," said Ron Motley, lead counsel for the plaintiffs. "It
 not only means that our clients will have the opportunity to win justice;
 it also strikes a major blow against the financial networks that make
 terrorism possible."
     The civil action, Almog, et al. v. Arab Bank, PLC, was brought in U.S.
 Court for the Eastern District of New York under two civil laws. The Alien
 Tort Claims Act of 1789 gives non-U.S. citizens access to the U.S. Courts
 to seek justice for violations of "the law of nations," such as genocide,
 crimes against humanity and terrorism, no matter where they occur. The
 Antiterrorism Act of 1990 gives U.S. citizens who have been injured or
 whose loved ones have been killed by acts of terrorism the right to seek
 justice from those who financed these atrocities.
     In her ruling, Judge Gershon wrote that plaintiffs "adequately allege
 Arab Bank's knowledge that its assistance would facilitate the terrorist
 organizations in accomplishing the underlying violations of the law of
 nations and that its provision of banking and administrative services
 substantially assisted the perpetration of those violations. Arab Bank
 provided practical assistance to the organizations sponsoring the suicide
 bombings and helped them further their goal of encouraging bombers to serve
 as 'martyrs.'"
     "[P]laintiffs have sufficiently alleged facts giving rise to Arab
 Bank's liability for aiding and abetting the violations of the law of
 nations alleged here," she concluded.
     The plaintiffs in Almog and a companion case, Afriat-Kurtzer v. Arab
 Bank, either lost loved ones or were injured as a result of suicide
 bombings and other atrocities perpetrated by Hamas and other terrorist
 groups against Israel. They include 30 citizens of the United States, as
 well as citizens of Israel, Russia, France, Poland, Romania, Argentina,
 Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Moldova and Afghanistan. With
 approximately 3,000 plaintiffs joining the case since the defendants'
 motion to dismiss was first filed, they now number 4,657.
     Arab Bank is headquartered in Amman, Jordan, and is one of the largest
 financial institutions in the Middle East, with a global network of more
 than 400 branches and offices in 25 countries, including the United States.
 Arab Bank has 22 local branches throughout the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
     The plaintiffs are represented by Motley Rice LLC, of Mt. Pleasant,
 S.C., and other leading international, finance and anti-terrorism attorneys
 in the United States, Israel and the United Kingdom.

SOURCE Motley Rice LLC