A committee of Israel’s Knesset is set to vote Monday on a bill that would make it virtually impossible for Palestinians to seek compensation from the state for damages caused by army operations, according to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, PCHR, in Gaza.

The Knesset’s Constitution, Law and Justice Committee is currently debating the proposal, Amendment Nr. 5 to the existing Civil Property Damage Law. The amendment has already passed a first reading at a plenary session of the Knesset.

If the committee approves on Monday – as it is widely expected to do, according to the Center – the Knesset plenary will then take it up for its second and third reading, perhaps as soon as next Tuesday or Wednesday. 

The new law, which would take effect retroactively to the beginning of the Al-Aqsa intifada (September 2000), would exempt the Israeli military from any claim for damages the army caused to a resident of a “conflict zone,” whether the damages occurred inside or outside that area.

“Israel has already severely limited the terms on which a Palestinian can seek compensation (mostly notably under Amendment No. 4 of 2002),” the center said. “This latest amendment seeks to deny all Palestinians the right even to seek compensation before Israeli courts”.

The PCHR has appeared before the Knesset committee and conducted advocacy work with local and international institutions to pressure Israel not to pass the amendments.
In a statement issued July 21, it called on humanitarian organizations to take “urgent action” to tell Israel that such amendments are “contrary to Israel’s international law obligations under international humanitarian and human rights law.”