Israeli government proposes blocking Palestinian compensation suits

Palestinian woman standing in what is left of her home in Gaza. (PCHR)


The Israeli government has proposed an amendment to the Civil Wrongs Law intended to exempt Israel from paying compensation to Palestinians injured by the security forces. The amendment applies to ” residents of a conflict area” and “subjects of enemy states.” The Government has clearly stated its intention to apply the new law to Palestinians in the Occupied Territories.

Today, Palestinians are not able to sue the state for damages caused by combatant activity, broadly defined as, “…any action of combating terror, hostile actions, or insurrection, and action intended to prevent terror and hostile acts and insurrection committed in circumstances of danger to life or limb.” If the Knesset passes the new amendment, it will almost completely block the ability of Palestinians to file for compensation, even for damage caused by illegal shooting, looting, negligence on training grounds, abuse and degrading treatment at checkpoints, or physical violence.

The law is blatantly discriminatory in that it denies the right to sue for compensation based on the identity of the victim, rather than the substance of the claim .

B’Tselem joined together with the Association for Civil Rights in Israel , HaMoked, the Public Committee against Torture in Israel, Adallah and Physicians for Human Rights-Israel to warn against the grave implications of passing such a law. The organizations calls on the government to remove this amendment from the Knesset docket, thereby preventing a stain upon its law books.

URGENT ACTION

The amendment has passed its first reading in the Knesset plenary and is now under discussion in the Knesset Law Committee. The Committee held its first discussion of the amendment on May 3 1 , and is expected to reconvene to continue discussion shortly. Write to the committee chairman, MK Michael Eitan, calling on him to act to prevent passage of Amendment 5 to the Civil Wrongs Law. Fax: +972-2-6496404 or Email: meitan@knesset.gov.il.

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