Israel insists Protective Edge was 'not a war'
State Attorney rejects petition to High Court of Justice, claiming financial assistance not dependent on declaration of war.
After 29 days of fighting, 64 fallen IDF soldiers, and more than 1,900 Palestinians killed, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government insists that Operation Protective Edge was not a war.
In responding to High Court of Justice petition calling for the operation to be declared a war, the State Attorney claimed Tuesday that the petition must be rejected outright for two main reasons.
The State said the petition does not provide a sufficient cause for the court to order the government to announce the declaration of war – a widely-shared opinion in the coalition on every foreign and defense policy in general, and the declaration of war in particular.
The State Attorney also claimed that the fundamental assumption underlying the basis of the petition – which said "the necessity of declaring the start of war is a social and financial need of the highest order" – was mistaken.
"The declaration of war in and of itself does not necessarily guarantee compensation or financial aid to citizens harmed by the conflict," wrote the State Attorney in the response.
"Given that, not declaring war does not signal that there would be such compensation. The matter of compensation for direct or indirect damages from war are regulated by the law, and it does not require a declaration of 'the start of war' to decide on compensation."
The State Attorney emphasized that the "State worked quickly to implement regulations from the legislation on property tax during Operation Protective Edge, and it has taken and it will take many steps to provide a wide-reaching response on additional financial and social issues, and its actions are not dependent on whether or not a war was declared."
In the response to the petition, the State Attorney stressed that "the decision to identify the campaign in 2006 as a 'war' was symbolic and ceremonial, and had no budgetary or legal significance."
Labor Party members of Knesset first called on the prime minister to declare Protective Edge a war as early as three and a half weeks into the fighting, to enable the government to widen its assistance efforts.