The Knesset will vote today on the second and third readings of the proposed law to deny innocent Palestinians compensation for injuries they suffered as a result of acts committed by Israeli security forces.
Under existing Israeli law, the state is exempt from paying compensation in cases in which the security forces acted according to law and Palestinians were injured during the course of combat. The proposed law is intended to deny compensation to innocent Palestinians in instances where the courts would have held, after investigating the claim and hearing evidence, that the injury resulted from the negligence of security forces who acted illegally. Therefore, if the law is passed, the disabled, bereaved families, and persons whose property was destroyed will be left without relief.
The government’s primary argument in support of the proposed law is that it would significantly reduce the amount of compensation that the state would be obliged to pay to innocent injured Palestinians residing in the Occupied Territories. However, regardless of the savings to the state treasury, the payment of compensation is not an act of charity; rather, it is an obligation imposed on the state by Israeli and international law. If the state wants to reduce the compensation it must pay, it should act to prevent injuries to innocent persons.
If passed, the law would make the security forces immune from almost all civil suit, a result that would place them above the rule of law.
Such a law would be a black stain on the laws of the State of Israel.
B’Tselem, The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories
8 HaTa’asiya St. (4th Floor),
Jerusalem 93420, Israel.
Tel: 972-2-6735599, Fax: 972-2-6749111