Israeli courts impose $5,200 “guarantee,” blocking cases by victims of Gaza massacre

Israeli courts have begun to impose a NIS 20,000 ($5,200) “guarantee” on Palestinian victims who have brought cases related to “Operation Cast Lead,” Israel’s 27 December 2008 - 18 January 2009 offensive on the Gaza Strip which killed 1,400 people and injured and displaced thousands of others.

This tactic constitutes “an insurmountable barrier to justice” according to the Gaza-based Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) which represents 1,046 individual claimants. In a release this morning, PCHR wrote:

The courts have begun to impose a court guarantee of 20,000 NIS per claimant. This guarantee must be paid before the case can proceed. PCHR wishes to highlight two factors: first, the amount of this guarantee is far beyond the means of the overwhelming majority of the victims in the Gaza Strip, and so constitutes an insurmountable barrier to justice; second, this guarantee is imposed per claimant, this results in a situation whereby the greater the violation (and so the greater the number of claimants), the greater the financial barrier to justice.

The release also notes that despite the fact that criminal and civil complaints were submitted on behalf of each of the 1,046 victims, “to-date substantive responses have only been received with respect to 2 criminal cases, and 2 civil cases.”