The Jerusalem Post

J’lem court dismisses terror financing case against Arab Bank


The Jerusalem District Court on Tuesday dismissed a terrorism-financing case brought against Arab Bank by 1,132 Israeli victims of terrorism, saying the issue had already been decided by the US judiciary.

In December 2019, the victims and their families filed the approximat­ely NIS 30 billion lawsuit against Jordan’s largest bank for allegedly serving as a funding platform for terrorist attacks against Israel.

The suit followed a number of other legal sagas with Arab Bank in the US. One separate lawsuit filed in the US in 2004 led to a historic judgment in 2014 and an eventual $1b. compensati­on settlement. Those victims had dual US-Israeli citizenshi­p.

A case by 6,000 victims, including the 1,132 Israeli victims who filed in Israel in 2019, was rejected by the US Supreme Court in April 2018 because they were not US citizens.

Essentiall­y, the Jerusalem District Court on Tuesday invoked the doctrine that once any court has ruled on an issue, even abroad, plaintiffs cannot refile the case in another jurisdicti­on to try to get a “second bite at the apple.”

In support of the decision, the Jerusalem District Court said the plaintiffs had tried to use Israeli law in the US courts, and yet their claim was still rejected.

Further, the court said that even if the US courts had not rejected the claim, there could be problems related to the statute of limitation­s for the claims.

In response to the decision, the plaintiffs said: “It is incomprehe­nsible that such a judgment could be handed down in Israel. The decision rewards a body that financed terrorism and helped terrorists and terrorist groups in harming and murdering many Israelis.”

They vowed to appeal to the High Court of Justice.

Arab Bank, based in Amman, operates some 600 branches across the globe. It is one of the largest Arab-affiliated banks in the world and is essentiall­y Jordan’s sovereign bank.

While the US lawsuit caused serious business issues for Arab Bank, which had large assets the US could reach, it is unclear what assets Israeli courts could have accessed.

Even the successful US case was delayed for years due to strong US-Jordan ties and it is unclear what position Israel might have taken for similar reasons.

The suit claimed that the bank had used funding and logistics to actively support terrorist attacks against Israel from 1995 through 2005 that were carried out by Hamas, Palestinia­n Islamic Jihad, Fatah and other Palestinia­n terrorist organizati­ons.

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