Tag Archives: Palestine

Case of the Day: Sokolow v. PLO

Woman being evacuated after a Jerusalem terror attack
Aftermath of a 2002 Palestinian terror attack in Jerusalem. Credit: Times of Israel / Flash90

The case of the day is Sokolow v. Palestine Liberation Organization (2d Cir. 2016). I wrote about a similar case, Safra v. Palestinian Authority, back in 2015. The gist of the earlier case, which was decided in Washington, was that the Palestinian Authority could not be sued for damages under the Anti-Terrorism Act because it was not subject to the court’s personal jurisdiction. The irony in Safra was that in order to prevail, the PA had to argue that it wasn’t a state, since states are always subject to the personal jurisdiction of the district courts in cases where an exception to FSIA immunity applies. That’s not a legal argument the supporters of unilateral declarations of Palestinian statehood are likely to want to trumpet, but it carried the day.
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Case of the Day: Zivotofsky v. Kerry

The case of the day is Zivotofsky v. Kerry (S. Ct. 2015). At least since US recognition of the State of Israel in 1948, the United States has never recognized the sovereignty of Israel or any other state over Jerusalem. The State Department’s practice, when issuing passports to US citizens born abroad, is to list the country of birth in the passport; but its policy is never to list a country of birth that is at odds with the US position on recognition of a foreign state. Thus when a US citizen is born in Jerusalem, the passport does not list Israel or any other country as the place of birth; instead, the passport simply lists Jerusalem as the place of birth.
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Case of the Day: Safra v. Palestinian Authority

While I don’t generally write about personal jurisdiction cases, the irony in Safra v. Palestinian Authority (D.D.C. 2015), is too good to pass up, especially in light of the verdict in Sokolow v. Palestinian Authority yesterday. In Sokolow, the jury found that the Palestinian Authority was liable for more than $200 million to victims of terrorist attacks in Jerusalem several years ago under the Anti-Terrorism Act. In Safra, on the other hand, the Palestinian Authority avoided trial—if the court’s decision withstands appeal—by successfully arguing that the court in Washington lacked personal jurisdiction.
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