WASHINGTON – Washington DC's Appellate Court approved on Sunday a civil suit filed against the Palestinian Authority by the family of a US State Department contractor who was killed in Gaza during the second intifada.
The suit, which was filed four years ago, claims that the Palestinian government was at least partially responsible for the roadside bomb that killed Mark Parsons and two others who were traveling with him.
Parsons and the two other security guards working for DynCorp International were killed on October 15, 2003 while on their way to Gaza City, protecting a convoy of State Department vehicles. At the time, the Palestinian Authority was still in control of Gaza.
Parsons' family claims that Palestinian security forces at the nearby checkpoint turned a blind eye to the laying of the bomb and passed on information to terrorists of the approaching American convoy, while the government furnished the terrorists with explosives to construct the bomb.
The court of appeals, presided over by a panel of three judges, overturned an earlier decision by a lower court, which ruled in favor of the PA.
The panel ruled that the suit may proceed under the Anti-Terrorism Act of 1991, which prohibits material support to terrorists by the Palestinian government.
Both the PA and Israel investigated the incident, finding that the bomb was planted by members of the Popular Resistance Committee, at least one of whom admitted that the group asked Palestinian security guards to disregard their activity at the site.
The inquiry reports handed to the Parsons family also show that Palestinian Authority investigators who arrived on the scene after the deadly attack tampered with evidence.