Lawyers for the Palestinian Authority (PA) claimed Thursday that the PA should not be held responsible for "crazy and terrible" attacks committed in Israel, as it fights a lawsuit seeking billions of dollars for victims, reported AFP.
American victims and their relatives have filed suit in federal court in New York against the PA and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).
The six attacks took place between 2001 and 2004, killing 33 people and injuring more than 390 others, including members of the 11 plaintiff families.
"It is not the right thing to hold the government liable for some people doing crazy and terrible things," defense attorney Mark Rochon said in his closing argument.
"There is no conclusive evidence that the senior leadership of the PA or PLO were involved in planning or approving specific acts of violence," he added, according to AFP.
The attackers killed the victims "for their own reasons," Rochon said, complaining about the plaintiffs' "exaggerated testimonies to make the Palestinian Authority look bad," based in part on Israeli intelligence.
The lawyer previously claimed that the terrorists who carried out the attacks in question were "acting on their own angry, crazy reasons."
The plaintiffs are pressing for the PA and the PLO to be held accountable for supporting the attacks carried out by members of the Islamist movement Hamas and the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, some of whom were also on the entities' payroll.
The trial in lower Manhattan presided by District Judge George Daniels takes place in the context of the PA's accession to the International Criminal Court, from where it could file action against Israel for alleged war crimes starting April 1.
The trial was recently cleared to be held after the rejection of a petition against it by the PLO and the PA, marking the first time the PLO will be held legally responsible for its actions.
Legal rights group Shurat Hadin (Israel Law Center) is helping represent the 11 families who charge the PA and PLO of inciting, supporting, planning and executing the seven terror attacks which killed American citizens between 2000 and 2004.
Shurat Hadin's Nitsana Darshan-Leitner recently told Arutz Sheva that the verdict in the trial could be precedent-setting.
"The Palestinian Authority is trying to create this image of being an entity worthy of becoming a state, and a judgment declaring that the Palestinian Authority sponsors terrorism or is involved in terrorism would make harder their efforts to become a state," Darshan-Leitner explained. "It would have to work very hard to clear up its name."
"If a judgment finds the PLO responsible for the terror attacks during the Intifada, that will set a precedent for other terror organizations to be charged with responsibility for the terror attacks they perpetrated," she stated. "The Palestinian Authority will have an overall responsibility for the crimes they committed during the Intifada – [and] every terrorist organization will [also] be liable for the attacks they committed."