Ali Saadallah Belhas et al. v. Moshe Ya'alon

General Moshe Ya'alon

The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia upheld a judgment in favor of our client General Moshe Ya'alon (Ali Saadallah Belhas et al., Appellants v. Moshe Ya'alon, Former Head of Army Intelligence Israel, Appellee). The case, argued by partner Robert Weiner, affirmed the US District Court for the District of Columbia's decision to dismiss the action brought against General Ya'alon based on sovereign immunity. The opinion for the Court filed on February 15, 2008 by Judge Sentelle said:

"Appellants brought this action seeking damages for injuries and deaths resulting from a battle between Israel and the terrorist organization Hezbollah along the Lebanese border. The defendant, a retired general of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), had become available for service of process by visiting the US as a fellow at a Washington, DC think tank. The district court dismissed the action for lack of jurisdiction, citing the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act of 1976. Because the district court is entirely correct, we affirm."

This decision is the firm's fourth such victory for Israel. Like the previous decisions, it was a forceful rejection of efforts to interject US courts into foreign political disputes. This decision prevents the US courts from being used as a platform for partisans seeking to challenge the official policies of sovereign allies like Israel. The decision also protects the courts from being drawn into controversies not appropriate for judicial resolution.

Our attorneys won the decision dismissing claims against General Ya'alon in December 2006. The firm also won a parallel case before the US District Court of the Southern District of New York. In May 2007, that court dismissed claims of war crimes and crimes against humanity brought by Palestinians against Avraham Dichter, formerly head of Israel's General Security Service, finding that sovereign immunity as well as the political question doctrine barred consideration of the claims. The case is now on appeal before the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

The first of our firm's four victories in these cases came in 2005. In Doe v. State of Israel, the US District Court for the District of Columbia granted the Firm's motion to dismiss claims against Israel, several cabinet ministries, the army, and senior Israeli officials attacking Israel's policies in the West Bank and Gaza.
Mr. Weiner was lead counsel in each of these victories. Our firm's litigation practice represent clients in a broad range of cases before trial and appellate courts, government agencies, and other tribunals.


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