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February 11, 2015 – NEW YORK
As part of their Tuesday cross-examination of the head of the Palestinian Authority’s equivalent to the CIA in the first ever terror trial in the US against the PA, the plaintiffs argued that major Palestinian leader Marwan Barghouti cut a deal during the Second Intafada in which he released the Hebrew University bomber from PA prison.
The case could carry up to a billion dollar price tag and massive negative diplomatic implications for the PA.
Barghouti himself has been serving a life sentence in Israeli prison for over a decade on a number of terror-related convictions, though some Palestinians consider him a moderate who was unfairly convicted.
Plaintiffs lawyer, Kent Yalowitz, was cross-examining Maj. Gen. Majid Faraj, the head of the PA’s General Internal Security (GIS), after Faraj had testified in behalf of the PA that it had nothing to do with some terror charges being directed at the PLO and Fatah.
Faraj presented himself as having been trained by Western security services, against terror and even fighting with Hamas.
In trying to break down Faraj’s image, Yalowitz showed a video deposition of Mosab Hassan Yusef where he claimed to be present at the arrest of Abdullah Bargouti, the mastermind behind the July 31, 2002 Hebrew University bombing and a number of other attacks.
They “cut a deal with Marwan Barghouti” for Abdullah Barghouti to go with the Palestinian Security Services and the PSS “forces would release him afterwards” Mosab said in the deposition video presented to the jury.
Yalowitz spent most of the day asking Faraj about what he knew about the actors and events surrounding the case, with Faraj clearly frustrating Yalowitz with exacting or evasive answers.
On several occasions he refused to confirm the authenticity of documents that were from GIS, the agency he currently heads.
“Anybody can make a copy like this, it doesn’t mean I deny or confirm its authenticity.” Faraj said of one document. And, “I may have read it, I may have not,” to Yalowitz’s questions about another.
In one series of questions where Yalowitz appeared vindicated, he got Faraj to admit that many official PA documents also say they are PLO documents, probably important for Yalowitz to argue that the two entities are alter egos of each other and that the PA cannot escape liability for actions by PLO employees.
The plaintiffs, represented by Shurat Hadin – Israel Law Center and Yalowitz of Arnold & Porter, have argued that a large volume of PA employees, including numerous policemen and commanders, have been arrested and convicted by Israel as having organized, planned and perpetrated suicide bombings and shootings against Americans in Israel, including the six attacks from 2001-2004 in the case during the Second Intifada.