Bereaved families of 3 teens file ‘unprecedented’ lawsuit against Hamas

The lawsuit for NIS 520 million ($155 million) against Hamas by families of the three teens kidnapped and murdered in 2014 seeks to end monthly payments to Hamas from the Palestinian Authority.

By  Yair Altman Published on  08-30-2020 13:05 Last modified: 08-30-2020 13:34 The late Naftali Fraenkel, Gil-ad Shaer, and Eyal Yifrach | Photo: Reuters

The families of three Israeli teenage boys who were abducted and murdered by Hamas terrorists in Judea and Samaria in June 2014, an act that would spark Operation Protective Edge later that summer, filed a lawsuit against the terrorist group on Sunday morning seeking damages worth NIS 520 million ($155 million).

According to the families of Naftali Frenkel, Gil-ad Shaer, and Eyal Yifrach, who are represented by attorneys Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, Avi Segal, and Avi Gaz from the Shurat Hadin Israeli Law Center, the purpose of the lawsuit is to stop the Palestinian Authority, which controls parts of Judea and Samaria, from transferring money to Gaza-based Hamas.

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The lawsuit partly relies on a study conducted by Lt. Col. (res.) Alon Eviatar – formerly an adviser on Palestinian affairs at the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories – which found that the PA transfers between $50-100 million per month to Hamas.

“The funds are transferred to Hamas’ government offices in Gaza and to various bodies in the Gaza Strip that are controlled by Hamas,” Shurat Hadin said in a statement. “In actuality, all the funds that reach one of Hamas’ wings – the military wing, political wing, or social wing – are considered Hamas funds and can be confiscated on behalf of a lawsuit against Hamas.”

The statement also said that Hussam Qawasmeh, the leader of the terrorist cell that carried out the abduction and murder, “confessed in his interrogation that he was the brains behind the [terrorist attack] and even received funding for the attack from Hamas. He purchased the weapons used in the attack and transferred them to Marwan Qawasmeh, another terrorist in the cell, and also bought a vehicle for them. He also confessed to helping the murderers after the attack bury the boys’ bodies, remove evidence from the burial site and evade Israeli security forces. Additionally, Hamas’ military wing, the Izzadin al-Qassam Brigades, officially claimed responsibility for the abduction and murder.”

A statement issued by the families of the three boys, said: “The purpose of this lawsuit, of course, is not to heal our pain, reduce our sorrow, or diminish our yearning for our children. If the lawsuit can deter, even slightly, these forces of evil, it would be a victory.”

Darshan-Leitner, who is the president of Shurat Hadin, said, “This is an unprecedented lawsuit. For the first time, PA funds will be confiscated because of a terrorist attack perpetrated by Hamas. If the PA refuses to honor a seizure order and continues funding Hamas despite the order, we will sue for the sum to be extracted from the tax funds Israel collects on behalf of the PA.

“Either way,” Darshan-Leitner continued, “the PA will pay for its support of Hamas – and the victims of terror will be able to receive justice. Where the state [of Israel] has failed – in stopping the hundreds of millions of dollars funneled to Hamas from the PA – the victims of terror will succeed.”

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