For more than 20 years, Israel has evaded compensating Palestinians for damages resulted of Israeli occupation actions, B’Tselem report said on Wednesday.
Israeli occupation has “taken measures to guarantee a nearly blanket exemption from its obligation under international law to pay compensation to Palestinians harmed by its occupation forces,” the report said.
The report discusses the development of this “practice,” linking it to a major drop in the number of damages claims filed by Palestinians in recent years, and focuses on cases where the Israeli occupation may not have committed a crime.
B’Tselem argues that a range of carefully planned legal moves by the Israeli occupation Knesset, the courts and relevant ministries have created obstacles to Palestinian lawsuits and “reflects how little value it [Israel] places on the lives, bodies and property of Palestinians living under its control.”
The group claims that Israeli actions have “lowered the price to be paid for harm to Palestinians while maintaining a false show of a functioning justice system.”
Evidence provided in the report includes data obtained from the Israeli defence ministry, such as from 1997-2001, Israel paid an annual average of NIS 21.6 million to Palestinians who sued for civil damages compared to NIS 3.
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8 million from 2012-2016, representing a decline of more than 80 per cent.
The report says that following this low rate of success, Palestinians have all but stopped filing new claims with the courts.
From 2002-2006, there was an annual average of 300 new lawsuits, whereas from 2012-2016, there was an average of only 18 claims – a drop of nearly 95 per cent.
B’Tselem said that Israel had introduced a series of procedural and evidentiary roadblocks, rendering “virtually non-existent the chances of Palestinian plaintiffs currently getting compensation for the harm they suffered.”
The roadblocks include having to front tens of thousands of shekels to guarantee the state’s expenses if the lawsuits fail, a requirement to notify the state within 60 days of an incident and a statute of limitations of only two years to sue, even as other similar cases in Israel would have seven years to sue.