A group of 26 American citizens who were flying to Israel during last summer’s Operation Protective Edge are suing Hamas for “indiscriminate rocket fire against Ben-Gurion Airport during the summer Gaza war” says the Israel Law Center (Shurat HaDin), a legal group which uses the court system to fight Israel’s enemies, and which organized the suit.
US law states, “A person who unlawfully and intentionally, using any device, substance, or weapon…disrupts the services of [an] airport [serving international civil aviation]” is subject to fines and up to 20 years imprisonment. During the course of the Gaza war, Hamas targeted Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport, at one point causing the cancellation of all American flights in or out of the country.
Of the 26 plaintiffs, some were on flights which were redirected to Paris, others had flights cancelled, and the rest were forced to seek shelter in the airport when it came under rocket fire. The attacks were clearly linked to Hamas, and the designated terror organization boasts that effectively shutting down Ben Gurion Airport during the war was its greatest victory.
The lawsuit names several key Hamas leaders, including Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal, senior spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri, and officials Hamdan Awad, Hudeiffe Samir, Abdullah Al’halut, Ahmed Jandoor, Ra’ad Sa’ad, Marwan Abed-el, Karim Issa and Salah Amer Daloul.
The complaint was organized by attorney Robert Tolchin of New York and Shurat HaDin chairwoman Nitsana Darshan-Leitner. It was filed with the Department of Justice on Tuesday.
Darshan-Leitner told The Jerusalem Post that Hamas “intentionally targeted Ben-Gurion airport this summer with the goal of killing passengers and destroying international carriers. Hamas openly boasted of its success when the FAA prohibited American flights to Ben-Gurion during the terrorist rocket attacks. The United States Department of Justice has the clear jurisdiction to indict these Hamas leaders and the Attorney General needs to let the Palestinian terrorists understand that they will no longer be getting a free pass for the war crimes they committed.”
She added, “We will continue to file complaints against Palestinian leaders both in the ICC and in many other national jurisdictions for the war crimes they have perpetrated against civilians.”