ESTATE OF PARSONS v. PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY
651 F.3d 118 (2011)
ESTATE OF Mark PARSONS, et al., Appellants
PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY, also known as Palestinian Interim Self-Government Authority and Palestinian Liberation Organization, also known as PLO, Appellees.
United States Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit.
Argued March 15, 2011.
Decided August 5, 2011.
Reissued August 12, 2011.
Before: HENDERSON, TATEL, and BROWN, Circuit Judges.
Opinion for the court filed by Circuit Judge TATEL.
Opinion concurring in part and dissenting in part filed by Circuit Judge HENDERSON.
Concurring opinion filed by Circuit Judge TATEL.
Opinion concurring in part and dissenting in part filed by Circuit Judge BROWN.
TATEL, Circuit Judge:
While providing security for a U.S. State Department convoy in the Gaza Strip, Mark Parsons was killed by a roadside bomb. Parsons's estate and his family sued the Palestinian Authority under the Anti-Terrorism Act of 1991, alleging that the Authority had provided material support for and conspired with the terrorist or terrorists who detonated the bomb. Concluding that the Parsons family had produced insufficient evidence to create genuine disputes of material fact on these Anti-Terrorism Act claims, the district court granted summary judgment to the Palestinian Authority. Although we agree with the district court that the family's conspiracy claim theories are too speculative to survive summary judgment, we believe a reasonable juror could conclude that Palestinian Authority employees provided material support to the bomber. Accordingly, we affirm with respect to the conspiracy claim but reverse as to material support.I.
In the midst of the Second Intifada, on October 15, 2003, a United States Department
of State convoy traveled through the Gaza Strip on the way to interview Palestinian Fulbright Scholarship applicants. Besides State Department officials, the convoy included a Palestinian Authority Civil Police car in the lead position and DynCorp International employees under contract with the State Department to provide security. While the convoy traveled along Salahadeen Road, approximately 20 meters — or about one-fourth of a city block — from a manned Palestinian Authority security checkpoint, a roadside bomb exploded, killing DynCorp employee Mark Parsons and two of his co-workers.
Immediately after the bombing, Palestinian Authority security and police forces took control of the site, gathered forensic evidence, and launched an investigation run by the Palestinian Authority's Preventive Security Services. United States and Israeli authorities also launched their own investigations.
During its investigation, the Palestinian Authority detained and interrogated six suspects, "a number of" whom, according to the official having overall responsibility for the investigation, "admitted to possessing and planting explosive charges in the past, targeted at Israeli military incursions into Gaza." One of those suspects was Amer Qarmout, a leader of the Popular Resistance Committees ("PRC"). During his interrogation, Qarmout recounted how, two or three days prior to the bombing, he supervised the digging of a hole on Salahadeen Street in which he planned to place a bomb. Qarmout and "fellow members in the Resistance" dug the hole "in front of the [Palestinian Authority] National Security Service." Qarmout explained: "I introduced myself to the National Security soldiers and asked them to turn their attention from the young men who were planting the device." But denying he ever planted a bomb, Qarmout claimed that after the "explosion targeting the U.S. convoy took place ... I called Joma'a Abou Loze[, who had helped dig the hole,] and asked him not to move about in the place and not to plant the device because of the dangers involved."
Qarmout also admitted to having possessed three bombs one month prior to the bombing. He described the bombs as using detonating cables, employing urea as the explosive material, and weighing 30 to 35 kilograms, 20 to 25 kilograms, and 10 to 12 kilograms. According to Qarmout, it was the 12 kilogram bomb that he had intended to plant on Salahadeen Road.