Majdal Shams lawyer to sue gov't for Naksa Day violence

“You don’t use a hammer to kill flies,” says Rami Abu Gabel, stressing that protesters, both on the Syrian and Israeli sides were unarmed.

June 10, 2011 03:41
2 minute read.
Syrian Naksa Day protesters run from tear gas

Naksa Tear Gas 311. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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Rami Abu Gabel, a lawyer from Majdal Shams in the Golan, announced on Thursday that he would submit a petition to the High Court over the use of what he termed “excessive force” by security forces against demonstrators during the Naksa Day protests on the Syrian border.

“You don’t use a hammer to kill flies,” said Gabel, stressing that the protesters, both on the Syrian and Israeli sides had been unarmed and that the IDF in his opinion used too much firepower under the circumstances.

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Syrian Health Minister Wael al-Halki claimed 23 demonstrators were killed and 350 were wounded in the clashes commemorating the “Naksa” or “setback” of the 1967 Six Day War on Sunday, although the numbers could not be verified. The IDF rejected the reports of 23 deaths as “exaggerated.”

Gamel, who said he was present to witness the violence, told The Jerusalem Post that many Majdal Shams protesters were injured from inhaling tear gas fired at them. One boy, he said, was taken to hospital in serious condition.

“The army says they fired after young residents of the village started throwing rocks at them. I was there and I know I felt the tear gas before anybody threw rocks,” said Gamel. He said plans were in the works among residents to demand a comprehensive investigation into the decision to use tear gas against the Israeli protesters.

“The petition for use of excessive force is against the Internal Security minister.

The actions of the people under his responsibility caused widespread trauma to all the people who witnessed it,” Gamel said. “The person responsible must be punished.”

Gamel said he was also planning to file a class action lawsuit against the police on behalf of the residents of Majdal Shams, for financial losses due to the closing off of the village and the surrounding region in the days leading up to Naksa Day.

“For a few days it was very difficult and at times impossible to bring in goods. Many employees were unable to show up for work and tourism suffered a severe blow,” said Gamel. He said it was still too early to put an exact price tag on the losses, but that it would be in the ballpark of a million shekels.

Gamel said he also anticipated a slew of personal damages claims by residents who were injured in the clash.

Meanwhile the Nazareth District Court remanded two Majdal Shams residents for four more days on suspicion that they hurled rocks at security forces on Naksa Day.

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