Damage done by Cast Lead
Sfard: Claims can't be filed in time
Photo: Guy Assayag
The High Court of Justice rejected on Thursday a petition by the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, which represents more than 1,000 residents of the Gaza Strip who demanded compensation for damages exacted by Israel during Operation Cast Lead.
The petitioners say courts in Israel are refusing to hear their claims due to statute of limitations laws, which provide two years in which a claim can be filed.
The judges wrote in their decision that in such cases courts are permitted to extend the statute of limitations by three additional years.
The petition centered on a demand to keep the State Prosecutor's Office and attorney general from dismissing claims for damages over Cast Lead due to statute of limitations.
Claims for compensation over damage done by security forces in the West Bank and Gaza must be filed within two years, whereas other damages claims can be filed seven years after the fact.
A spokesman for the center, Attorney Michael Sfard, claims in the petition that in light of Israel's refusal of entry permits, filing a claim within such a short period of time is nearly always impossible. He says Gazan attorneys are not permitted to enter Israel while Israeli attorneys are not allowed into Gaza.
The judges rejected this claim and ordered the Palestinian group to pay NIS 10,000 (around $3,000) in legal fees, citing a clause that states that if the prosecution can state a reason for failing to file a claims suit within the allotted time period, courts are permitted to extend the period by three years.
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