Unprecedented Lawsuit Filed against Al-Jazeera TV in S.D.N.Y. by Victims and Families of Victims of Hezbollah Rocket Attacks

NEW YORK - On the fourth anniversary of start of the Lebanese-Israeli War, 91 American, Israeli and Canadian victims of Hezbollah rocket attacks filed an unprecedented lawsuit against the Qatar-based Al-Jazeera television network. The suit, filed July 12 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in Manhattan, seeks $1.2 billion in compensatory damages plus punitive damages (Kaplan, et al. v. al Jazeera, No. 1:10cv5298, S.D. N.Y.).

The plaintiffs, whose family members were killed or who were themselves injured by rockets fired at Israel by Hezbollah between July 12 and Aug. 14, 2006, allege that Al-Jazeera intentionally provided real-time coverage of the locations of missile strikes inside Israel in violation of Israeli security regulations, thereby enabling Hezbollah to aim its missiles more accurately.

Al-Jazeera camera crews in Israel during the war were repeatedly detained by the Israeli police for broadcasting real-time information regarding the location of missile strikes, which Hezbollah utilized to more accurately aim their missiles at civilian population centers.

The plaintiffs are represented by attorney Robert J. Tolchin of Brooklyn, N.Y.'s Berkman Law Office LLC; Israeli human rights lawyer Nitsana Darshan-Leitner; and the firm of Heideman, Nudelman & Kalik of Washington, D.C.