United States District Court, District of Columbia
MEMORANDUM OPINION [DKT. #354]
RICHARD J. LEON, DISTRICT JUDGE.
20, 2017-following years of unnecessarily protracted
litigation, distinguished, at times, by the parties' use
of dilatory tactics rather than their commitment to "the
just, speedy, and inexpensive determination of every action
and proceeding, " Fed.R.Civ.P. 1-I granted summary
judgment for defendants. The cornerstone of my ruling was the
determination that plaintiffs lacked sufficient admissible
evidence to prove the essential elements of their claims.
Before the Court is plaintiffs' Motion to Alter or Amend
Judgment ("Pls.' Mot.") [Dkt. #354], through
which plaintiffs seek to introduce new evidence and alter
that ruling. Upon consideration of the pleadings, relevant
law, and the entire record herein, the Court will DENY
Court presumes familiarity with its prior opinions and will
not belabor the facts. See, e.g., Shatsky v. Palestine
Liberation Org., Civil Case No. 02-2280 (RJL), 2017 WL
2666111 (D.D.C. June 20, 2017) ("Shatsky IIF);
Shatsky v. Syrian Arab Republic, 312 F.R.D. 219 (D.D.C.
2015) ("Shatsky IF); Shatsky v. Syrian Arab
Republic, 795 F.Supp.2d 79 (D.D.C. 2011)
("Shatsky F). On February 16, 2002, a suicide
bomber detonated an explosive device inside a crowded
pizzeria in the West Bank village of Karnei Shomron. The
blast killed two people, both U.S. nationals, and wounded
thirty others, including four U.S. nationals. The U.S.
victims and their personal representatives initiated the
instant suit against the Palestinian Authority
("PA") and the Palestine Liberation Organization
("PLO") (collectively, "defendants"),
alleging that the bombing was enabled by those entities.
Plaintiffs asserted violations of the Anti-Terrorism Act
("ATA"), 18 U.S.C. §§ 2331-2339D, and
related common law torts. As relevant here, plaintiffs'
theory of liability posits that defendants proximately caused
the bombing by paying a salary to Ra'ed Nazal, a Captain
in the Palestinian Preventative Security Services, while
structuring his no-show job in a manner that left him free to
plan the Karnei Shomron bombing and recruit the suicide
bomber. See Shatsky III, 2017 WL 2666111, at *2.
20, 2017, I granted summary judgment for defendants. As
stated above, the cornerstone of my ruling was the
determination that plaintiffs lacked sufficient admissible
evidence to prove the essential elements of their claims. I
found, among other things, that "no reasonable jury
could conclude that the PA proximately caused the bombing by
paying Nazal a salary" because plaintiffs had
"identified no admissible evidence supporting their
theory that Nazal planned the bombing." Id. at
The instant Motion seeks to remedy this evidentiary
deficiency by propounding new evidence which, in
plaintiffs' view, "establishes] proof of Ra'ed
Nazal's involvement in the Karnei Shomron bombing."
Pls.' Mem. Supp. Mot. to Alter or Amend J. 4
("Pls.' Mem.") [Dkt. #354-1].
new evidence consists of statements made by an individual
named Allam Kaabi during an audiovisual interview he gave on
December 17, 2016. Kaabi is a member of the Central Committee
for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine
("PFLP"), a faction within the PLO that has been
designated by the United States as a Foreign Terrorist
Organization. See Shatsky III, 2017 WL 2666111, at
*1. According to plaintiffs, Kaabi has a decades-long history
of personal involvement in violent extremist and terrorist
activities. See Pls.' Mem. 8-13. The interview,
which the Court has viewed in full, together with its
English-language translation, see Pls.' Mot.,
Exs. 7 & 7A, Certified Translation and Video File [Dkt.
#354-9], was streamed live on Facebook by the PFLP,
see Pls.' Mot., Ex. 10, PFLP Facebook Page [Dkt.
#354-12], and maintained in a video archive on that site,
Pls.' Mot., Ex. 11, PFLP Facebook Page [Dkt. #354-13]. It
is unclear from the exhibits and briefs whether Kaabi's
interviewer was "in-house" with the PFLP or just a
friendly member of the Palestinian press.
interview, Kaabi recounts events occurring in 2001 and 2002
during the Second Intifada. Kaabi's narrative begins with
the death of Abu Ali Mustafa, then Secretary General of the
PFLP. According to Kaabi, Mustafa "planted a bomb inside
a watermelon" that an unnamed individual then placed
"on a Zionist bus in Jerusalem." Pls.' Mot.,
Ex. 7, Certified Translation, at 4. Israeli intelligence
discovered the booby-trapped watermelon and killed Mustafa.
Id. at 4-5. Within hours of Mustafa's death,
members of the PFLP retaliated by killing a rabbi.
Id. at 5. After that, the PFLP renamed its militant
elements as the "Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades" and
launched a campaign of terror attacks where, in Kaabi's
words, "the cells fired at bypass roads, at vehicles of
settlers, at settlements, at military posts and bases."
Id. at 7-8. According to Kaabi, "[t]he most
significant operation carried out by the Front was the
assassination of Rehavam Ze'evi, " Israel's
Minister of Tourism. Id. at 8.
also reports in his interview that PFLP cells began using
suicide bombers in the wake of Mustafa's death.
Kaabi's narrative describes three such attacks,
including, of most relevance here, the bombing of the
pizzeria in Karnei Shomron:
The first suicide attack was carried out in the settlement of
Ariel by istish'hadi [suicide attacker] Shadi
Nassar, a resident of Madama village in Nablus. He was
recruited and prepared by Comrade Yamin Faraj. I think that
he had been in jail and was a member of the Yamin Faraj cell.
A lot of people were killed and injured in that operation,
but the occupation chose not to reveal the number of those
killed and injured in that operation.
After that, the Karnei Shomron operation was executed
by comrade Raed Nazal from Qalqilya in coordination
with the comrades in the Brigades in Nablus. It was a joint,
distinguished effort. I think it was carried out by
istish'hadi [suicide attacker] Sadeq Abd al-Hai.
Many settlers were killed inside the settlement. After the
operation the Israeli army attacked several Front
headquarters in Nablus with aircraft and artillery fire.
The Brigades in Nablus was the first organization to carry
out a suicide attack within the '48 borders - in
Netanya's city market - after Operation Defensive Shield
and after Sharon boasted that he had destroyed the resistance
and that the resistance would not be heard of anymore,
telling the Zionists to enjoy a long, undisturbed sleep.
The now-liberated comrade Duaa al-Jayyousi participated in
the operation. I was among the members of the cell. . . .
Id. at 9 (bold emphasis added). Not surprisingly,
plaintiffs seek to introduce the statement attributing the
Karnei Shomron bombing to Ra'ed Nazal. They contend,
naturally, that the admission of this statement would enable
them to overcome the evidentiary deficiency identified in my
prior opinion granting summary judgment for defendants.
are less than forthcoming, however, about the circumstances
surrounding their discovery of the Kaabi interview. In their
memorandum, they state that it was "recently
discovered" by counsel. Pls.' Mem. 3. In response to
questions raised by defendants, plaintiffs report that they
"stumbl[ed] upon" the interview "shortly
before the release of this Court's June 20, 2017
Memorandum Opinion." Pls.' Reply to Defs.'
Opp'n to Pls.' Mot. to Alter or Amend J. 1
("Pls.' Reply") [Dkt. #356]. In a footnote,
they clarify that counsel "became aware" of the
interview on May 22, 2017. Id. at 10-11 n.3. They
also state that a rough draft of a translation was completed
by May 25, 2017, and that counsel "was in the midst of
determining whether the evidence would be admissible and
therefore could and should be brought to the Court's
attention" when my summary judgment opinion issued.