DOJ Asked to Prosecute Hamas for Violating U.S. Law

Hamas violated U.S. law when it disrupted air travel in and out of Israel

A list of canceled and delayed flights at Ben Gurion Airport / AP
March 27, 2015

An Israel-based law center is petitioning the Department of Justice to pursue charges against top Hamas leaders for committing acts of terror against U.S. citizens and commercial airliners at Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport during last summer’s war with the Jewish state, according to a copy of the complaint obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.

The Israel Law Center, which pursues legal cases on behalf of terror victims, has filed a complaint with the DOJ requesting that it investigate jurisdiction to pursue charges against Hamas and its top leaders, according to a copy of the complaint, which will be sent to Attorney General Eric Holder on Monday.

The complaint argues that the United States has proper jurisdiction to indict Hamas as liable for its rocket attacks on Ben Gurion Airport and commercial airliners flying in and out Israel during the July 2014 war.

The Israel Law Center says it has been in touch with 26 U.S. citizens who were at Ben Gurion during the skirmish and forced to seek emergency shelter as a result of rocket attacks.

U.S. planes also were docked on the ground during rocket attacks on the airport and one Delta airlines flight was forced to make an emergency stop in Paris as a result of the violence, according to the center.

The complaint presses the DOJ to "indict and prosecute those Hamas officials and agents … responsible for brazen violations" of a U.S. law barring deliberate attacks on international airports.

Hamas violated the statute "by deliberately firing missiles at Israel’s Ben Gurion International Airport (‘BGA’) last summer," the complaint alleges.

Hamas also violated U.S. law when it disrupted air traffic and other services at Ben Gurion on at least two occasions, the complaint says.

"All members of the Hamas hierarchy who participated in rocket launches against [Ben Gurion] in any capacity are criminally liable as co-conspirators," the complaint concludes. "Many, even without priming a fuse, are liable under [section] 18 U.S.C. 37 [of the U.S. legal code]."

"The United States should obtain indictments, institute efforts to procure the custody of, and commence prosecutions against all responsible parties," the complaint states.

Hamas’ attacks on the airport forced the Obama administration to bar U.S. air carriers from flying to the airport for a period of 36 hours.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) also ordered all passengers on an American Airlines flight at the airport to depart the plane due to safety concerns.

That ban "severely disrupted service at [Ben Gurion], coming at the height of the summer tourism season," the complaint says.

Hamas, the complaint continues, "targeted missiles at [Ben Gurion] for the express purpose of killing or injuring civilians and disrupting international flight service in and out of Israel," a violation of U.S. law.

Hamas went on to take credit "for the missile fire and declared the disruption of Israeli air service a ‘great victory,’" the complaint says.

A Hamas spokesman, Sami Abu Zuhri, also released a statement celebrating the "success of Hamas in closing Israeli airspace," according to a copy of his remarks detailed in the complaint.