Department of State moves to strike American citizens’ suit challenging aid to the Palestinians
The United States Department of State has filed a motion seeking to dismiss the claims of 24 American citizens who sued the government over what they contend is its refusal to obey congressional restrictions concerning the funding the US provides to the Palestinian Authority (PA). The plaintiffs, who all live in Israel,allege that Department of State, including former Secretary Hillary Clinton, had ignored congressional safeguards and transparency requirements attached to US aid to the PA. In addition, the plaintiffs claim that the White House has not been complying with the regulations and reporting obligations governing presidential waivers which facilitate emergency funding to the Palestinians. As a result of this non-compliance, US funds have been flowing to terror groups like Hamas, the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and the Palestine Liberation Front. The terror financing puts the plaintiffs in danger of being killed in terror attacks.
Rather than defend the government’s foreign aid policy on its merits and provide proof that it truly knows where the US funding to the PA is going, the attorneys for the Department of State are trying to have the lawsuit dismissed on legal technicalities! The government is arguing that the 24 Americans do not have standing to bring a suit as their fear of being injured by Palestinian terrorism is speculative and that the issue of US funding to the Palestinians is a foreign policy power reserved to the President and cannot be reviewed by the courts. The Department of State has asked that the District Court in Washington, DC to dismiss the proceeding without investigating the plaintiffs’ claims that US funds are being utilized by the Palestinians illegally for terrorism that could injure Americans and other innocent civilian residents of Israel.
However, as the suit contends, Americans living in proximity to these Palestinian terror groups are in the class of individuals that Congress sought to protect through the safeguards and regulations that the White House, Department of State and USAID are disregarding. Moreover, the civil action asks the federal court to review the conduct of the Department of State and the safeguards on funds being distributed by USAID in its programs to the PA and to the United Nations Refugee Worker’s Administration (UNRWA) and seeks to suspend future American aid to the PA and UNRWA until all the congressionally legislated regulations and reporting requirements are fully complied with.
The lawsuit does not challenge the President and Department of State’s right to conduct foreign policy nor fund the Palestinians if they misguidedly believe they must prop up this outlaw regime economically. What the plaintiffs instead object to, is the Executive Branch’s funding the PA without complying with the limitations put in place by Congress that were designed to protect American citizens from Palestinian terrorism. This is the reason why there is no political questions being raised, as the Department of State contends, why the requested mandamus jurisdiction is appropriate, why the suit is not about foreign policy powers but rather legitimate objections to statutory interpretation and why the 24 Americans have personally suffered a threatened injury that can be traced to the challenged action of the government and that their threatened injury would likely be redressed by a favorable decision as the law requires.
To view the Department of State’s memo for its motion to dismiss: http://www.scribd.com/doc/134172980/Bernstein-v-Clinton-MTD-Memo
To view the Americans’ lawsuit: http://tinyurl.com/chd5oac
And join with us on the June Ultimate Mission to Israel: http://israellawcenter.org/page.asp?id=331