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Palestinians file $34.5bn lawsuit against pro-Israel entities

An Israeli soldier reacts as a military bulldozer clears rubble in the village of Kafr Qaddum near Nablus, February 12, 2016. (AFP)

A group of Palestinians have recently filed a $34.5-billion lawsuit against a series of pro-Israel corporations, individuals, and non-profit organizations, accusing them of helping the Israeli regime to expand its illegal settlements.

The plaintiffs, including activist Bassem al-Tamimi and more than 30 others, targeted billionaire casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, Volvo, Israel Chemicals, Bank Leumi, Bank Hapoalim, and a number of others for their alleged role in the expansion of the illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory “in a manner injurious to the Palestinians and their property rights,” Israel's Ynetnews daily reported on Friday.

The nearly 200-page lawsuit, brought by Washington lawyer Martin McMahon on behalf of its plaintiffs, was filed in Washington DC federal court on Monday.

According to the lawsuit, these individuals, companies, and non-profit organizations have funded the Israeli military’s criminal activities, including “ethnic cleansing, home demolitions, murder, mayhem, arms trafficking, and breaking bones of Palestinian demonstrators.”

During the past 40 years, the parties named in the suit also “have been committing the war crime of pillage by stealing and exploiting valuable minerals from Palestinian properties,” plaintiffs went on to say.

The United Nations and most countries regard the Israeli settlements as illegal because they are built on territories captured by Israel in a war in 1967 and are hence subject to the Geneva Conventions, which forbid construction on occupied lands.

More than half a million Israelis live in over 120 settlement colonies built since Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East al-Quds (Jerusalem).

The presence and continued expansion of Israeli settlements in occupied Palestine has created a major obstacle for efforts to establish peace in the Middle East. The Palestinian Authority wants the West Bank as part of its future independent state, with East al-Quds as its capital.

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