The Knesset plenum approved on Wednesday amendments to a law called Ã¢â‚¬Å“Intifada lawÃ¢â‚¬Â, in order to limit the ability of Palestinian residents to sue Israel for damage occurred during the Intifada.
The amendments passed by 54-15 in the second and third readings of the law which was submitted by the government, one abstention was reported in the vote.
The new amendments will be enacted retroactively from September 2000, which means voiding all compensation claims filed in Israeli courts for damage caused by the army sinceÃ‚Â the Intifada stated in September 2000.
The Israeli government claimed that the amendments were proposed after thousands of Palestinian residents sued Israel asking for compensation.
The new amendments state clearly that Ã¢â‚¬Å“the state of Israel is not responsible for the damage caused by military activities or operations in the occupied territories, or damage which occured during clashesÃ¢â‚¬Â.
Likud members of Knesset, Labors MkÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s, Shinui, Shas, National Religious Party, and the National Union Party voted in favour of the amendments, while Meretz-Yahad, the Arab parties, and Labor Mk Yuli Tamir voted against it; Labor Mk Danny Yatom abstained.
According to the new amendments, Palestinians will only be able to sue for damage in two types of cases; the cases in which soldiers were convicted of traffic-related charges and cases in which physical harm was caused to them while being imprisoned in Israeli military detention centres.
Also, Palestinians would also be allowed to appeal to the courts if their compensation claims were rejected before a special committee.
The amendments, which were proposed by the Israeli Defence and Justice ministries, came after the Israeli courts Ã¢â‚¬Ëœwere flooded by thousands of damage suits against Israel, totalling hundreds of million of ShekelsÃ¢â‚¬Â, an Israeli source reported.
MK Zehava Gal-On, from the Meretz-Yahad slammed the amendments describing it as Ã¢â‚¬Å“a stain on IsraelÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s law booksÃ¢â‚¬Â.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“The state is granting immunity to illegal actions carried out by the armyÃ¢â‚¬Â, Gal-On said, Ã¢â‚¬Å“It is acting carelessly towards the illegal actions of the soldiers, this is discriminationÃ¢â‚¬Â.
Arab MK Azmi Bishara said when the Knesset was discussing the amendments that the Knesset is passing a law which could not be passed in the courts.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“You are passing a law which the prosecution failed to pass in the Israeli courtsÃ¢â‚¬Â, Bishara said, Ã¢â‚¬Å“You are aiding the prosecution and avoiding the judgesÃ¢â‚¬Â.
Labor MK, Yuli Tamir, said that this law does not give innocent Palestinians, any opportunity sue of compensations for damage caused by the army.Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Ã‚Â
Also, Labor M.K Zahava GilÃ¢â‚¬â„¢on described the law as a Ã¢â‚¬Å“disgraceÃ¢â‚¬Â to the Israeli Law.