Top US court rules in favor of Arab Bank
Victims of attacks in Israel cannot use an 18th century law to sue the Arab Bank, a multinational financial institution, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on April 24 in a precedent-setting case for other foreign businesses.
The decision rests on a legal provision almost 230 years old. Plaintiffs accused the Jordan-based bank of facilitating transfers to Hamas, the Islamist movement which controls the Gaza Strip and which Israel and the United States label a terrorist group.
A majority of five conservative judges on the top U.S. court outnumbered four others who dissented.
The Arab Bank was founded in Jerusalem in 1930 when Palestine was under the British Mandate, and now has more than 600 branches worldwide.
It hailed the decision as a “historic victory” and insisted it would continue to carry out its activities in accordance with “international banking norms”.
The bank plays a central role in the Palestinian territories where it works with major international development agencies. The roughly 6,000 foreign claimants in the case included victims of militant attacks in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza, primarily during the second Intifada from 2000 to 2005. They said the Bank contravened international laws by allowing financial transfers aimed at funding the violence to be made to accounts held by Hamas leaders.