The Israeli High Court of Justice ruled on Tuesday against legal
obstacles that had prevented Palestinian civilians harmed by what was
described as “non-belligerent” Israeli military operations in the
occupied territories, from demanding Israel for compensation.
Israeli online daily, Haaretz, reported that the ruling cancels a portion of the "Intifada law" which exempts Israel from paying compensation for harm caused by military operations against civilians in the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
The areas in question are labeled by the army and the Israeli Defense Ministry as "conflict zones" . The ministry uses the term in order to exempt the state from any responsibility for compensation for damages directly caused by the Israeli troops during military attacks in these areas, Haaretz added.
Several Human Rights organizations in Israel praised the new ruling and said that it could be the beginning of proceeding law suits filed by civilians against the army.
The organizations who filed the suit are nine human rights organizations headed by Adalah “The Legal Center For Arab Minority Rights in Israel”.
The nine organizations argued that the Israeli law that bars the filing of compensation suits is “racist and inhumane” since it frees Israel from its responsibility for attacks and offensives carried by its troops since the outbreak of the Al Aqsa Intifada in 2000.
Haaretz added that the court decided to preserve a clause added to the law in July 2005, that stipulated that the state does not have to pay compensation for damages caused in military operations since September 2000, when the damage was suffered by "citizens of enemy states and workers or members of terrorist organizations."
The new ruling goes in immediate effect in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, and will be applied retroactively, Haaretz reported, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip will be considered as a one conflict zone.
On September 2000, the former Defense Minister, Shaul Mofaz, declared nearly all of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip as a “conflict zone” and thus exempted the army from responsibility for damages caused during military operations and attacks.
The new ruling will enable legal actions to take place against events that happened in previous years.
Adalah welcomed the ruling and issued a statement welcoming the ruling “which attacks the racist laws taken by the Knesset in recent years”.
Also, Arab member of Knesset, Mohammad Barakeh, from the Hadash Party, said that this law will allow the victims of the Israeli occupation to file claims against the state, and demand compensation.
MK Haim Oron, from Meretz party, said that “It is a shame that the Knesset repeatedly makes mistakes which must be fixed by the High Court.