Earlier this week, I was interviewed for a Bloomberg News story looking at a case involving a suicide bombing in Jerusalem last year — which was allegedly the work of Hamas. The case went beyond trying terrorists, though. The case involved Amman, Jordan-based Arab Bank, being brought to court in New York in connection with a provision of the Anti-Terrorist Act allowing U.S. citizens who are victims of terrorism sue supporters of attacks. Two survivors of the bombing, by virtue of holding dual U.S./Israeli citizenships, were allowed to take Arab Bank to court, alleging that the bank is providing banking and other services allowing Hamas to carry out terrorist attacks.
This is the first test case for this provision of the act — it’s a new way to combat terrorism that might just be one of the most powerful weapons we have at our disposal. As I told Bloomberg, “These groups can’t operate unless money is flowing into them. I think this is the new wave, if you want to fight terrorism. It’s finding ways to cripple them financially.”
I’m very interested to see how this case turns out, and if Arab Bank is held responsible, to see what further steps banks might take to screen customers and monitor account activity.