Lebanon war victims sue al-Jazeera
New York - On Monday, the fourth anniversary of the outbreak of the Second Lebanon War, a group of 91 Israelis filed a $1.2 billion lawsuit in a US federal court against al-Jazeera, claiming the Qatar-based new network’s war coverage aided Hezbollah, the Yedioth Ahronoth daily reported.
The plaintiffs are civilians who were wounded during the war or are relatives of victims of the Katyusha rockets that were fired on northern Israel for 34 days in the summer of 2006. The Kaplan vs. al-Jazeera suit seeks compensatory and punitive damages.
The attorneys representing the plaintiffs said, "al-Jazeera intentionally reported live coverage of the locations of the missile strikes inside of Israel in violation of military censorship regulations, in order to enable Hezbollah to aim the missiles more accurately.
“Al-Jazeera camera crews in Israel during the war were repeatedly detained by the Israeli police for broadcasting real-time information regarding the location of missile strikes, which Hezbollah utilized to more accurately aim their missiles at civilian population centers,” the attorneys claimed.
One of the plaintiffs, Haim Kaplan, said, "The first city to be hit was Safed, and I was hit twice on the first day of the war. In the first incident a rocket landed a few meters from my house; shrapnel entered the house, and it was a miracle no one was hurt. Later that day a rocket landed near my car. The car was damaged, and I was evacuated to the hospital with mild injuries. I will continue to sue any organization that aids terror organizations. I will share the damages with the community in Safed."
Attorney Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, the founder of Shurat HaDin, Israel Law Center (ILC), said, "Without the assistance of al-Jazeera’s on-the-ground spotters, Hezbollah would have been unable to accurately aim its missiles into Israeli cities. Al-Jazeera, which has offices in New York, aided and abetted Hezbollah terrorism and is responsible for the injuries suffered by the victims of these attacks.”
According to her, al-Jazeera will claim it was "just doing its job".
"It won't help them. They consciously violated the censorship laws for a specific purpose. That's what matters," Darshan-Leitner said.