Multibillion-dollar lawsuit in Israel against Arab Bank

Israeli casualties of terrorism sue the Jordan-based Arab Bank over its alleged assistance to terror groups

Arab Bank

Danny Zaken reports in Al-Monitor:

The Jordan-based Arab Bank was served with a precedent-setting, 20-billion-shekel ($5.75 billion) lawsuit Dec. 29 in Jerusalem’s District Court. Behind the suit were 1,132 victims and casualties of terrorism and their families, who are accusing the bank of cooperating, supporting, abetting, funding and encouraging terrorist activities, which resulted in thousands of casualties. The plaintiffs claim that the bank was involved in funding terrorist attacks in Israel carried out by Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Fatah and other terrorist organizations.

Among other things, this lawsuit is based on a similar, successful lawsuit against the Arab Bank in the United States in 2004. Initially, Israeli and American citizens filed the suit together, but the court decided to separate the American and the Israeli plaintiffs. The final compromise ruling covered victims of terrorism, who held American citizenship.

The plaintiffs proved that the bank cooperated with terrorist organizations by opening private bank accounts for the families of terrorists, with which they could receive money from donors. The bank admitted that it did, in fact, transfer tens of millions of dollars to these accounts, but denied that it had any connection to Palestinian terrorist organizations. After many years of legal wrangling, a federal court in New York found the bank liable for knowingly supporting terrorist factions of Hamas, which were responsible for dozens of terrorist attacks between 2001 and 2004, in which American citizens were among the victims. Then, in August 2015, before the court could rule on the final sum of the compensation, the bank reached a confidential settlement with the American plaintiffs.

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The new lawsuit against the Arab Bank was brought by the victims of terrorism themselves, as well as the families of hundreds of casualties of terrorist attacks that took place in Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip between 1995 and 2005. Among the terrorist attacks listed in the suit were the 1996 attack on Dizengoff Center, which left 13 people dead and about 125 injured; the Dolphinarium attack in Tel Aviv in 2001, in which 21 people were killed and about 120 were injured; the attack on the Sbarro restaurant in downtown Jerusalem in 2001, in which 15 people were killed and about 140 injured; and the 2002 attack on the Park Hotel in Netanya during the Passover seder, which left 30 people dead and about 160 injured.

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