The Knesset’s Law, Constitution and Justice Committee voted today (Monday) to approve the amendment to the Civil Wrongs Law. The amendment is intended to almost completely exempt Israel from paying compensation to Palestinians injured by the security forces. On Wednesday, the Knesset plenary will vote on it for the second and third readings, necessary to enact it into law. 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.