Sunday, February 17, 2008

The State We're In

Whose side are they on?

Terror victims from across the US and Israel came here this week to urge the Bush administration not to interfere with their multi-million-dollar lawsuits against the Palestine Liberation Organization. They left feeling they'd been listened to, but not necessarily heard.

That a US government organisation would need to mull over siding with American citizens or foreign terrorists is disgusting.

"It's obscene that they would get in involved in our case," said Elliot, who was shot in the chest while waiting for a bus on Jerusalem's Jaffa Road in 2002. She lost a lung and suffers chronic pain. "It's obscene that they could be against the terror victims."

But this is the State Department we're talking about.

"There has been a rethinking in the State Department that I wholeheartedly welcome," Afif Safieh, head of the PLO mission in Washington, told The Washington Post this week. He labeled the suits "politically and ideologically motivated to drive the Palestinian Authority into bankruptcy."

I'm confused- can someone explain why a terrorist group like the PLO is even permitted to set foot on American soil, let alone have a political presence? I was under the impression that the PLO had officially been designated a terrorist group by Congress- and as such were prohibited from operating "
an office, headquarters, premises, or other facilities or establishments within the jurisdiction of the United States". Right?

Oh wait, George "you're with us or against us" Bush has been giving the PLO a waiver every six months to continue to operate their mission in Washington. Regardless of the fact that they are responsible for carrying out terrorist attacks on American citizens.

Attorney David Strachman, who represents Elliot and many of the other victims who came to Washington this week, has so far won $288 million in damages from the PLO, but has yet to collect any money for his clients. He said a US government statement of interest against the judgments would "entirely undermine the purpose of the act and would defeat what the judicial branch did." He said the meetings with government officials this week were inconclusive.

"They were unable to tell us that they were not going to support the PLO," he said. "We had 25 victims in the room, and they were unable to say they would support American citizens over a terrorist organization."

What has the world come to?

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