We had nothing to do with it

From the Times of Israel report about a court action by terrorist victims against the PLO and PA, now ongoing in Manhattan:

PLO lawyer in US: Suicide bombers acted for own ‘crazy reasons’

Trial kicks off in New York over $1 billion terrorism lawsuit against Palestinian organizations

Now, it’s a while since I was a lawyer, but my antennae stood to attention when I read the headlines. It’s seriously being suggested that the suicide bombers acted on their own?

Here’s some more from the report:

A lawyer for the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestinian Authority told a jury at the start of a civil trial Tuesday that the groups are not to blame for terror attacks in Israel.

Attorney Mark Rochon said in his opening statement that seven attacks from 2001 to 2004 were carried out by suicide bombers and gunmen “acting on their own angry, crazy reasons.”

He said the organizations are victims of guilt by association with terrorists who are not defendants in a lawsuit brought on behalf of victims. The $1 billion lawsuit was filed in 2004 to hold the organizations responsible for seven shooting and bombings in or near Jerusalem that killed 33 people and wounded hundreds more, including scores of US citizens.

Do you find that a persuasive argument? It seems illogical to me, and to fly in the (wounded) face of common sense. I imagine most of us can accept that some acts of terrorism could be the acts of loners. They might be incited by a terror organization – for example, to stab a passing Israeli, or drive a car at pedestrians. However, a suicide bomber needs one thing 99.9% of people do not have access to, nor the ability to manufacture: a bomb. The suggestion that these suicide bombers were all chemistry superstars working in glorious – angry – isolation, is laughable. It’s offensive. (But, hey, that’s some courtroom lawyers for you.)

It appears from the report, that the people making the claim anticipated this line of argument:

…attorney Kent Yalowitz urged jurors in a packed courtroom to hold the Palestinian organizations liable for the killings.

He brought an 11-year-old lawsuit to life with victims of the terror attacks looking on, introducing some of them to jurors and saying they were they were victimized by suicide bombings sanctioned by the PLO.

“The evidence will show that killing civilians was standard operating procedure for the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestinian Authority,” he said.

Payroll records show that the Palestinian Authority “embraced these crimes” by continuing to pay security officials who organized the attacks, even after they were convicted of murder, he said.

I don’t think planning, directing, and lauding terror acts is guilt by association. And then there’s the wages of death paid to convicted murderers.

In one sense, this situation mirrors the behavior of the PA (and Abbas, and Hamas) in dealings with the outside world: say one thing in Arabic which is pro terror and incitement, then say something completely different in English.

The PA might just be getting a foretaste of what being a member of the ICC will bring them, and that taste may be bitter indeed.

The full report is here.