The U.S. Supreme Court was scheduled to hold its first hearing Wednesday on a lawsuit filed by Israeli victims of terrorism against Jordan-based Arab Bank, claiming it knowingly funded Palestinian terrorist groups, including Hamas.
Arab Bank is one of the largest financial institutions in the Middle East. It has 190 branches worldwide and holds accounts for various governments and global conglomerates.
In 2013, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York ruled that as a commercial entity, the bank was immune to lawsuits by Israeli nationals, adding that the court itself had no jurisdiction in cases involving plaintiffs who are not American citizens.
The ruling did, however, note the victims’ American families could pursue the matter further, which they did.
Members of the Almagor Terror Victims Association who hold dual Israeli-American citizenship are expected to argue that by converting various currencies to dollars and allowing wire transfers to the accounts of known Hamas operatives, the bank violated international norms barring the funding of terrorism.
The lawsuit claims Arab Bank was in violation of “pacta sunt servanda” (Latin for “agreements must be kept”)—a basic principle in civil, canon and international law that, with reference to international accords and norms, states that “every treaty in force is binding upon the parties to it and must be performed by them in good faith.”
“We, the families of Israeli victims of terror, believe we have the right to sue those who were accomplices—before and after the fact—to the murder of our children. We see the war on terror of any kind as a sacred act not only for our dead children’s sake but in defense of our living children,” the Almagor association said in a statement.