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Knox v. Palestine Liberation Organization

306 F. Supp. 2d 424 (2004)

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Knox v. Palestine Liberation Organization

United States District Court for the Southern District of New York

306 F. Supp. 2d 424 (2004)

Facts

In 1988 the Palestinian National Council issued a Declaration of Independence to establish Palestine as an independent state. In 1993 the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) (defendant) entered a Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements, which established a framework for transferring administrative authority over certain geographic areas from Israel to Palestine. In 1995 Israel and Palestine formed an interim agreement, which detailed the rights and obligations of Israel and Palestine. Israel retained the authority to make decisions involving security and Israeli settlements. Palestine was expressly denied the authority to enter into agreements with other states. Both Israel and Palestine were authorized to negotiate certain infrastructure decisions. In 2002 individuals armed with machine guns entered a Bat Mitzvah reception in Israel and opened fire. Six individuals were killed, including Aharon Ellis. In response, Ellis’s representative, Leslye Knox (plaintiff), filed an action in federal district court under the Antiterrorism Act against the PLO and the Palestinian Authority (defendant) (collectively, the PLO). Knox argued that the armed individuals had carried out the attack as agents and under the direction of the PLO. The PLO asserted sovereign immunity under the Antiterrorism Act and the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, which deprived the federal courts of jurisdiction over a foreign state. The United States District Court for the Southern District of New York considered whether Palestine met the legal definition of a state and, if so, whether the PLO could assert immunity as an essential element of Palestine.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Marrero, J.)

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