Friday, December 6, 2013

United States of America v. Palestine Liberation Organization case brief

United States of America v. Palestine Liberation Organization case brief summary
695 F. Supp. 1456 (S.D. N.Y. 1988)

The United States sought an injunction closing the permanent observer office of defendant Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) pursuant to the Anti-terrorism Act of 1987 (ATA), 22 U.S.C.S. § 5201-5203. The United States moved for summary judgment. Defendants, the PLO and four members of the permanent observer office, moved to dismiss the suit.

The United States argued that the ATA required the closing of the PLO's permanent observer office in New York. Defendants challenged the court's personal and subject matter jurisdiction and maintained that the United State failed to state a cause of action.


  • The court concluded that it had personal jurisdiction over defendants because they had the necessary contacts with New York. 
  • The court concluded that it had subject matter jurisdiction because it lacked the power under U.S. Constitutional art. III to order the United States to arbitrate the matter in a international tribunal as the matter involved international policy. 
  • As to the merits, the court interpreted the ATA as failing to supersede the Agreement Between the United States and the United Nations Regarding the Headquarters of the United Nations and as inapplicable to the mission. 
  • The ATA not require the closure of the PLO mission to the United Nations nor did the Act's provisions impair the continued exercise of its appropriate functions as a permanent observer. 
  • The Headquarters Agreement remained a valid and outstanding treaty obligation of the United States. 
  • It was not superseded by the ATA.

The court denied the motion of the United States for summary judgment. Summary judgment was entered for defendants, dismissing this action with prejudice.

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