Judge Tosses Case against Palestinian Authority
(CN) - A family cannot sue the Palestinian Authority for the murder of a family member during the Second Intifada because their evidence is "sheer hearsay," a federal judge ruled.
Esh Gilmore, a U.S. citizen living in Israel, was a victim of the Second Intifada, a prolonged period of violence between Israelis and Palestinians.
He was killed in 2000 in a Palestinian attack on an office of the National Insurance Institute in East Jerusalem, where he worked as a security guard.
Israel never prosecuted anyone in connection with the attack, but the alleged gunman, Muhanad Abu Halawa, was assassinated by Israeli Defense Forces two years later.
Gilmore's family sued the Palestinian Authority and Palestinian Liberation Organization in U.S. courts seeking compensation for Esh's death under the Anti-Terrorism Act.
But U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler dismissed their action Monday, because the family failed to produce any admissible evidence that Abu Halawa killed Gilmore.
"At the outset, the court notes that, although plaintiffs sought and received more· than a year-long extension of time to file their opposition to the instant motion, their memorandum of law contains only nine pages, is almost entirely devoid of any citations to their statement of undisputed material facts for the record, consists largely of conclusory assertions, and, in many places, lacks any explanation whatsoever," the judge said.
Plaintiffs rely on two Israeli government "reports," but these documents are actually press releases published on the army's website, and one of them does not even mention Abu Halawa.
They also cite inadmissible evidence of statements made to Times of Israel reporter Avi Issacharoff, and published in his book "The Seventh War."
But these statements, in which Abu Halawa, claimed responsibility for the attack cannot be assumed true, because he "perceived public attribution for the attack to be in his interest, not contrary to it."
The family's only evidence is therefore "sheer hearsay," incapable of being converted into admissible evidence that can be presented to a jury, Kessler said.