- Last Updated: 10:40 AM, January 14, 2013
- Posted: 1:05 AM, January 14, 2013
A Us judge has ruled that the Palestinian Authority has the right to cover up a memo linking it to a suicide bombing that killed two teen American citizens in Israel, The Post has learned.
The document — accidentally handed over to lawyers suing the authority for $300 million on behalf of the teens’ parents — reveals a “close relationship” between the bomber and a captain in the Palestinian Authority security forces who planned the terror attack, court papers say.
The two-page memo, written in April 2012 by Maj. Ziad Abu Hamid of the authority’s General Intelligence Service, also details “at least six other critical facts” about the 2002 bombing and “clearly establishes the defendants’ material support and liability,” the federal court filing says.
But Washington, DC, federal Judge Richard Leon ordered the memo returned or destroyed after the authority’s lawyers claimed it was “privileged and protected” information.
Scott Shatsky, 60, the Brooklyn-born father of one victim, called the decision “incomprehensible.”
“It makes me feel that justice is not being done,” the Brighton Beach native said. “Maybe I’m missing something, but to me it’s just outrageous.”
The plaintiffs’ lawyers have yet to comply with Leon’s Jan. 2 order and last week asked him to stay it pending appeal.
“Defendants’ illegitimate cover-up efforts must not be permitted with impunity,” lawyers David Schoen and Robert Tolchin wrote.
If returned or destroyed, “this critically important evidence of murder will likely be lost forever,” they said.
“It would also deprive Congress of the kind of evidence it must have to evaluate whether to continue funding these defendants, only to see the money go to support and reward terrorism against Americans.”
The memo hasn’t been made public, and a copy was sealed.
But court papers say it links Sadeq Hafez, an operative for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine terror group, to Raed Nazal, “who was both a salaried officer in the PA’s security services and a leader of the PFLP cell in Qalqilya,” a Palestinan city in the West Bank.
On Feb. 16, 2002, Hafez blew himself up in a packed pizzeria in the Israeli settlement of Karnei Shomron, killing three teens, including Keren Shatsky, 15, and Rachel Thaler, 16.
Shatsky was born in Israel to American immigrants. Thaler’s dad is from the US; her mom is from England.
“It’s like you lost a limb,” Scott Shatsky said of losing Keren, the youngest of his six children.
“You might learn to walk with a prosthetic, but you’re never the same.”
Lawyers for the Palestinian Authority didn’t return a request for comment.
But in court papers, they said the memo was mistakenly handed over in a Sept. 12 deposition in Qalqilya because it was folded up in the bottom of an envelope that held unrelated documents. They said the memo “retains the protection of the privilege despite the inadvertent disclosure.”