Families may sue Israel for jet downing
Libya’s payment of compensation to the families of victims in two plane crashes seems to have inspired yet another compensation claim – by families of victims of an Arab aircraft that was shot down by Israeli airforce jets 30 years ago.
According to the Islamic Association of Palestine news agency based in the US, Arab families who lost their relatives in the shooting down of the Libyan Arab Airlines Flight 114 are planning to go to court to get compensation from Israel.
However, the families of the 106 victims would need help from human rights organisations, as the money involved to fight a case could run far beyond what they can afford.
About 28 Egyptian and two Libyan families have engaged lawyers to start the legal process. The paper, quoting Israeli defence sources said Tel Aviv had offered compensation at the time, but the victims’ families refused it as it would tantamount to recognition of Israel.
But the families have denied they were offered compensation. The paper quoted Egyptian Foreign Minister, Ahmed Maher, concurring there was no Israeli offer of compensation. The Libyan airline, however, gave a token compensation of 1800 Egyptian pounds.
Another key issue the families need to decide is where to file the case. Since Egyptian families were involved, the courts could be petitioned in Egypt. But lawyers say it is anyone’s guess whether Israel would be bound by any ruling in Egyptian courts.
When the Libyan pilot refused orders to land, the Israelis opened fire and the plane went down in flames in the desert, killing 106 people
The Libyan plane was heading from Tripoli to Cairo on 21 February 1973, when bad weather forced the pilot to veer over Egypt’s Sinai peninsula. The Sinai was then occupied by Israel. Two Israeli jet fighters intercepted the plane and ordered it to land. But the pilot refused. The Israelis opened fire and the plane went up in flames killing all 106 people on board.
Libya last week agreed to pay $2.7 billion dollars to the families of victims of the Pan Am jet that exploded over Lockerbie in Scotland in 1988 killing 270 people.
The French passenger plane UTA DC-10 was bombed in 1989 over Niger in Africa killing 170 people. Libya is finalising the amount of money to be paid to the victims’ families.