Verizon Providing Telephone Service to PLO, Says It’s “Not Violating Any Laws”
Shurat HaDin, an Israeli human rights law firm, has notified Verizon and Endeka Enterprises – a Washington D.C. landlord – that they are in violation of American law by providing “premises and services” to a terrorist organization.
“Please be advised that providing services to the PLO is illegal and will expose Verizon and its officers to both criminal prosecution and civil liability to American citizens and others victimized by PLO-sponsored terrorism,” reads the letter sent to Verizon.
The law firm is asking for written confirmation from both parties that they have discontinued the services being provided to the PLO’s Washington D.C. office.
The Algemeiner spoke with Shurat HaDin’s (Israel Law Center) lead U.S. Attorney, Kenneth Leitner, regarding the issued notices.
“The PLO is an umbrella organization. They have constituents and they provide constituent services. One of them is PFLP (Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine). They’re specially designated terrorists by the United States government. The PLO is quickly becoming a very open constituent service provider to these terrorist organizations and if they continue in this direction, why should they be able to provide them with support in the U.S.?”
Verizon says it is doing nothing illegal.
“We do provide service to the number. We regularly screen our customers against all these lists, including the U.S. government’s Specially Designated Nationals List (SDNL), which involves terrorist organizations. Our last screening was yesterday and none of our customers are currently on the list,” company spokeswoman Sandra Arnett told the Algemeiner.
Mr. Leitner noted that recent moves by the PLO, including it’s inclusion of Hamas members into it’s government ranks, and it’s past sponsorship of terrorist attacks, contributed to the need for informing both Verizon and Endeka Enterprises about their activity.
“We see what direction the PLO is headed in now that Hamas has joined their leadership ranks, and if this organization is to return to what it’s past has been, let them [Verizon and Endeka] come up and explain why they need to provide those services.”
Arnett says that Verizon’s frequent checking of the SDNL limits their exposure to being in violation of the law.
“Because we’re regularly screening customers, we would know,” she said. “We’re not violating any laws.”
When asked if his firm has had success in the past with these types of issues, Mr. Leitner said their litigation “is typically against terrorist organizations and banks, but we have applied that strategy to other groups that have supplied material support to these terrorist organizations”.
He cited Lloyd’s of London’s decision to drop it’s insurance of the second Gaza Flotilla as a successful case led by Shurat HaDin.