Israel lauds U.S. court ruling over compensation for suicide attack victims

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Israel lauded on Tuesday a U.S. court verdict ruling the Palestinian authorities to 218 million U.S. dollars as compensation to U.S. victims in suicide bombing attacks in Jerusalem more than a decade ago.

Israel's Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman praised the court's decision, saying it is "first and foremost a moral victory for Israel and the victims of terrorism."

"The decision by the federal court must be a wakeup call for Palestinians themselves and those supporting them, to realize that terrorism is an integral part of the structure of the PA," Lieberman said in a statement issued on Tuesday.

On Monday, jurors in Manhattan federal court ruled the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) liable for supporting terrorist attacks in Israel more than a decade ago that killed dozens of U.S. nationals.

The court also ordered the PNA to pay back 218.5 million dollars to ten U.S. families who brought the case one month ago.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcome the court decision in a statement late Monday, and blamed the PNA for further propagating regional instability, through their attempts to join the International Criminal Court (ICC), in which the PNA seeks to try Israeli officials for war crimes against Palestinians.

The PNA asked to join several international treaties in recent months, in an attempt to get the international community's support to end the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, east Jerusalem and Gaza, which were occupied and annexed following the 1967 War. The approach came as U.S.-mediated peace talks between Israel and the PNA came to a halt in April.

"We expect responsible elements in the international community to keep punishing those supporting terrorism... and to support the countries fighting terrorism," Netanyahu added Monday night.

However, the Palestinian side said late Monday they would appeal the decision, claiming that the accusations against the PNA and the Palestinian Liberation Organization are "baseless."

Netanyahu and Lieberman have repeatedly accused PNA members of provocation, via militant attacks against Israelis carried out in recent months.

The Palestinians claim that Israel deliberately stalled the talks and insisted on severe security demands which brought the discourse to a halt.

Hostility between Israeli and Palestinian officials increased amid the PNA's recent diplomatic choices, with Israel's government halting transfers of tax money it collects for the Palestinians in December, January and February.

Israel collects money on behalf of the PNA as part of the 1993 Oslo Accord agreement, since Palestinians do not have statehood status. In response, the PNA threatened to cut off its security cooperation with Israeli security forces. Endit

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