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US intervenes in lawsuit over Palestinian attacks

Washington: The Obama administration has intervened in a lawsuit over Palestinian attacks that have killed Americans, advising a judge that requiring a hefty bond payment in the case could financially destabilize the Palestinian government.

The filing comes in a case in New York City, where a jury this year awarded USD 218.5 million to survivors and victims’ relatives in a case brought against the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestinian Authority. That amount is automatically tripled under the Anti-Terrorism Act, lawyers have said.

By intervening, the government said it was trying to strike a balance between its support for the rights of terrorism victims to be compensated and concerns that a large bond imposed while the verdict is on appeal would weaken the legitimacy of the Palestinian Authority and undermine “several decades of US foreign policy.”

“Senior US officials have made clear to other governments that if the PA were to collapse, we would be faced with a crisis that would not only impact the security of Israelis and Palestinians, but would potentially have ripple effects elsewhere in the region,” Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a sworn declaration filed Monday in US District Court in Manhattan.

The Justice Department filed a formal “statement of interest” in the case at the behest of the State Department, federal officials have said.

The plaintiffs have requested that the Palestinian government deposit USD 30 million per month while the case is on appeal. They say the Palestinian Authority has the money to make those payments.