A group of Palestinians have launched an ambitious $34.5bn lawsuit against US-based tycoons, charities and firms for supporting Israeli land grabs, settlement-building and other violations of Palestinians’ rights these past four decades. They seek damages from Las Vegas casino magnate Sheldon Adelson; Irving Moskowitz, a philanthropist with property interests in East Jerusalem; and megachurch pastor John Hagee for financing the construction of settlements on Palestinian soil.
Lawyers also name such charities as Christian Friends of Israeli Communities and private firms, including Dead Sea-based cosmetics maker Ahava, UK-based security firm G4S and the industrial powerhouse Israel Chemicals Limited. “We’re not in this for the money, but we’ll probably pick the pockets of some very wealthy corporations,” Martin McMahon, a lawyer for the complainants from the firm Martin McMahon and Associates, told Al Jazeera on Monday.
“It’s about time that the world woke up to the fact that Palestinians are being murdered every day with US taxpayer dollars.” The case is brought by Bassem al-Tamimi, an activist, and about 35 other Palestinians and Palestinian Americans who say they have seen their loved ones killed by Israeli forces and lost their land to settlers and business and construction schemes. They allege five counts of conspiracy, war crimes, aggravated trespass, pillage and racketeering via various legal mechanisms, including laws against organised crime and US entities linked with overseas human rights abuses.