Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Israeli citizens to sue the Palestinian Authority over suicide bomb attacks

By SARAH EL DEEB, Associated Press Writer

JERUSALEM - Israel has cleared the way for its citizens to sue the Palestinian Authority over suicide bomb attacks, ruling that the Palestinian government does not represent a state that could avoid such suits.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry made its ruling Sunday, allowing 55 suits for damages to proceed. Since 2000, 541 people have been killed in 131 suicide bombings.

Relatives of victims of one of the bloodiest attacks, when 21 teenagers were killed in a 2001 bombing outside a Tel Aviv night spot, have been demanding the right to sue for damages. Last year the Israeli Supreme Court ordered the Foreign Ministry to decide the matter.

The ministry released a statement Sunday approving the suits. Spokesman Arye Mekel said Israel does not recognize the Palestinian Authority as a state. Usually states are immune from prosecution in the courts of another country.

A top Palestinian official rejected the decision.
Riad Malki, the Palestinian Authority foreign minister and government spokesman, said Israeli courts have no legal jurisdiction over the Palestinian Authority. He warned that the decision could undermine the peace talks.

"We had expected (the Foreign Ministry) to provide a positive atmosphere for the continuation of the peace process and negotiations," Malki said. "We regret such inclinations. We condemn them." (Source)


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