This article was originally published in The New York Times' Room for Debate on 24 February 2015.
The jury's judgment should finally extinguish any hope Palestinians may have harbored that their people could expect justice from any branch of the U.S. government.
Congress invites Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel to give an address just months after Israel forces pounded the Gaza Strip, killing some 2,200 Palestinians, the majority of the civilians, including approximately 500 children.
The world can no longer indulge the fantasy that the United States can be Israel’s closest ally and honest broker with the Palestinians.
American diplomats at the United Nations labor tirelessly to defeat a Security Council draft resolution calling for a end date to Israel’s nearly 48-year military occupation of the West Bank -- even though a resolution is necessary to implement the two-state solution we nominally support.
In holding the Palestinian Authority and the Palestine Liberation Organization liable to the tune of $655.5 million for damages to U.S. citizens on dubious evidence -- while summarily dismissing suits against Israelis for bombing and killing Palestinians on grounds of sovereign immunity -- U.S. courts simply complete the trifecta.
Who ultimately loses from this record of U.S. partisanship remains to be seen. The U.S. has presided over the international community’s efforts to bring about a Middle East peace for at least two decades, to demonstrably disastrous results. The fantasy that the United States can be both Israel’s closest ally and honest broker in Israel’s contest with the Palestinians may be one the international community can no longer afford to indulge. The U.S. risks further isolation, along with Israel, in its self-referential bubble. The U.S. and Israel may see themselves as two democratic nations facing the perils of “international terror” together. Much of the rest of the world sees self-righteous bullies, with no compunction against unleashing frightful military power against hapless Middle East populations.
Of course, Monday's judgment will be appealed, and it is entirely possible that the trial court’s rulings regarding its jurisdiction to hear the case will be overturned. A fortnight ago, a Federal District Court in Washington declined jurisdiction in two similar cases against the Palestinian Authority, in rulings that seem more consistent with recent Supreme Court precedent.
Hence the legal grounds to overturn this misguided judgment are readily available. Hopefully a U.S. court will still have the prudence to do so.