Saudi Committee for the Support of the Intifada al Quds

The Saudi Committee for the Support of the Intifada al Quds was founded on October 16, 2000 pursuant to a Royal Decree. Its stated purpose was to collect and distribute money to underwrite the costs of the Second Intifada (the violent uprising against Israel launched in late September 2000). The Plaintiffs established at trial, however, that the Saudi Committee operated as a universal “death and dismemberment” insurance program distributing money to the families of Palestinian terrorists (including so-called “martyrs,” the wounded, and former prisoners incarcerated for committing politically motivated acts of violence). The Saudi Committee’s website announced that it planned “Payment of 20,000 Riyal to every Martyr’s family in coordination with the Arab Bank. The transfer will be made in the name of the family of the Martyr and the Bank will guarantee it.”

 

The Saudi Committee for the Support of the Intifada al Quds’s periodic public reports described millions of riyals in monetary aid that its programs provided to Hamas charitable organizations in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and direct payments to thousands of Palestinian individuals. In May 2002, Israeli officials released a report that alleged that the Saudi Committee had “transferred large sums of money to families of Palestinians who died in violent events, including notorious terrorists.” The report argued that this alleged financial support encouraged Palestinian terrorism by easing the potential burden on the families of attackers. The Saudi government denied the charges but statements made by Saudi Committee representatives in response to specific claims that it provided support to the families of suicide bombers or otherwise supported terrorism were less consistent. For example, on May 27, 2002, Arab News reported that Mubarak Al Biker, the “executive manager” of the Saudi Committee for the Support of the Intifada Al Quds, stated “we support the families of Palestinian martyrs, without differentiating between whether the Palestinian was a bomber or was killed by Israeli troops.”

 

The U.S. government itself provided evidence to Saudi Arabia in 2003 that the Saudi Committee "was forwarding millions of dollars in funds to the families of Palestinians engaged in terrorist activities, including those of suicide bombers. The funds were often transferred through integrated accounts at a number of major Saudi banks that were popularly referred to as Account 98."

 

A 2007 Congressional Research Service Report noted:

The Al Quds Intifada Committee website, maintained in the name of “the Saudi Committee for Relief of the Palestinian People,” once contained over 40,000 transaction records that featured the names individuals who received humanitarian aid and financial support from the Committee. The records portion of the Saudi Committee website was deactivated in March 2005. The website states that “many accounts were opened for the harmed persons at the Arab [B]ank branches in the Palestinian territory, and fixed aids [i.e. donations] were transferred to the harmed people in their respective accounts.” One of the Saudi Committee’s programs supported Palestinian families whose primary breadwinners were killed by Israeli forces or under other violent circumstances during the uprising. Online records for this program contained the names of deceased individuals, transaction numbers, the date of their deaths, their home towns, and the circumstances in which they were killed. The Saudi Committee’s description of the program indicated that payments of 20,000 SR [$5,300] were transmitted to the family members of these individuals in their names following their death.

 

Of the 1,300 names contained in the records for this specific Saudi Committee program, over 60 matched or closely resembled the names of known Palestinian terrorists who carried out attacks on Israeli military personnel and civilians from October 2000 to March 2002. They included suicide bombers and gunmen who were killed during actual and attempted attacks inside Israel and the Palestinian Territories. Most of the Saudi Committee records assigned to individuals whose names matched or closely resembled those of suicide attackers listed “assassination” as the cause of death — however other records credited “martyrdom.” A handful of these records indicated that the individuals they referred to were killed during a “martyrdom operation.” The Saudi Committee changed its name to the "Saudi Committee for the Relief of the Palestinian People" in 2004 and removed many records from its website in early 2005.

 

At trial, the Plaintiffs produced voluminous evidence that Arab Bank knowingly provided material support to a laundry list of terrorists in violation of U.S. anti-terrorism laws by facilitating payments from a Saudi Arabian charity known as the Saudi Committee for the Support of the Intifada al Quds in coordination with Hamas-controlled organizations.

 

Evidence introduced at trial established that newspapers placed advertisements in prominent Palestinian newspapers on behalf of the Saudi Committee requesting that the relatives of martyrs - whose names were listed - come to Arab Bank to receive payments. The jury was also shown examples of letters that individuals submitted to Arab Bank in order to prove that they were eligible to receive prisoner payments. The trial record also included martyr lists contained in Arab Bank's own files that listed the cause of death of Saudi Committee beneficiaries. "Martyrdom Operation" appeared numerous times on these lists. One of the lists in Arab Bank's own files listed Ayman Halawah, the infamous Hamas bomb-maker involved in three of the 24 Hamas terrorist attacks (Neve Yamin Gas Station Suicide Bombing (near Kfar Saba) - March 28, 2001Dolphinarium Suicide Bombing, Tel Aviv - June 1, 2001Sbarro Pizzeria Bombing, Jerusalem - August 9, 2001).  

 

All told, thirty-two million of the $35,000,000 (92.5%) that was processed by the Saudi Committee for the Support of the Intifada al Quds between 2000 and 2004 via Arab Bank to "martyrs," "prisoners," and the "wounded" was remitted in cash

 

The Saudi Committee for the Support of the Intifada al Quds funds transfers included direct payments to a number of senior Hamas leaders including:

  • Abd al-Fatah Dukhan - a founder of Hamas
  • Ibrahim Al-Muqadama - until his death in 2003 Hamas's second-in-command in the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades in Gaza 
  • Ahmed Al-Ja'bari  - the head of Hamas’s Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades in Gaza when he was killed in 2012
  • Nizar Rayan - a former senior commander in the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades

The Saudi Committee for the Support of the Intifada al Quds funds transfers also included payments to the families of senior Hamas leaders such as:

The Saudi Committee for the Support of the Intifada al Quds funds transfers also included payments to the families of 5 of the Hamas suicide bombers involved in the 24 Hamas terrorist attacks:

The Saudi Committee for the Support of the Intifada al Quds funds transfers also included payments to the families of Hamas operatives responsible for 12 of the 24 Hamas terrorist attacks:

The Saudi Committee for the Support of the Intifada al Quds also transferred funds to many of the dozen Hamas-controlled organizations encompassed in this trial. Transfers to these Hamas-controlled organizations exceeded $15,000,000.