High Court: PA residents eligible for compensation
Court partially approves petition filed by nine human rights groups demanding cancellation of legislation that prevents Palestinians from claiming compensation from Israel following IDF operations in Authority; judges reject eligibility for compensation to citizens of enemy states, terrorists
The High Court of Justice partially approved Tuesday a petition by nine human rights organizations regarding the issue of compensatory payments to residents of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip following IDF operations in the area.
That being said, the court rejected the eligibility for compensation to citizens of enemy state or members of terrorist organizations.
The human rights groups demanded to cancel a legislation which prevents Palestinians from claiming compensation from the State.
The organizations claimed that "the amendment to the Civil Damages Law, which deprives (Palestinians) of their right to claim compensation also for damages caused not during war activities is a racist and unethical law, and it also leads to lack of control over the army's activities in the occupied territories."
The petitioners also asked the High Court to rule that Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty applies to all the residents of the areas controlled by Israel.
According to the amendment to the law, which is also called the "Intifada Law" and was approved by the Knesset about a year and a half ago, residents of the territories, citizens of "enemy countries" and operators of "terrorists' organizations" are deprived of the right for compensations following damages caused by security forces, also not as part of war activities.
The amended law authorizes the defense minister to declare every area in the territories an "area of confrontation," even if no fighting has been held there, thus depriving any person who suffered damages in the area of the right to claim compensation at a court of law.
'Amendment not constitutional'
The law retroactively applies to damages caused since September 29, 2000 and to pending court cases.
The State's response presented by the State Prosecutor's Office said: "The conflict between Israel and the Palestinians since the year 2000 is a war in every respect."
According to the State Prosecutor's Office, if the amendment isn't accepted, an absurd situation could be created in which "Israel, the attacked side, will be responsible for damages of war, as well as the Palestinians."
It was written in the response: "The war obligated Israel to match its damage laws, which weren't suited to the special characteristics of war, to the new situation that was created."
The State Prosecutor's Office tried to explain the complicated situation in the field. "Fighting in an authority that isn't a state, even if it is a political entity, that is contained within territory that is partially held in a militant perspective, is a situation that veers from the acceptable."
They also added, "If the Palestinian Authority were an enemy state, the amendment would be superfluous. However, this is a terrorist authority that is hostile toward Israel."
The organizations for their part emphasized in the petition that "this is a law that grossly violates the legal humanitarian principles and the international law of human rights, occurring in the Occupied Territories, and damages fundamental rights in contradiction to the foundation law: respecting a person and his freedom. Therefore, the amendment is not constitutional."