Ministerial c'tee okays new Intifada bill

Proposal by MKs Eitam and Vilna'i absolves gov't of responsibility for compensating Gazans hurt during IDF operations.

eitam 298 (photo credit: AP [file])
eitam 298
(photo credit: AP [file])
The Ministerial Committee on Legislative Affairs approved on Sunday a proposal absolving the government of responsibility for providing compensation to residents of the Gaza Strip who are hurt during IDF operations. The proposal was initiated by MK Effi Eitam (NU-NRP) and Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilna'i (Labor), and directly contradicts a ruling which was handed down by former Supreme Court president Aharon Barak, who declared that Palestinians wounded during IDF operations were eligible for compensation. In December 2006, a panel of nine High Court justices headed by Barak unanimously struck down a key provision in a law passed by the Knesset in 2005 that prevented virtually all Palestinians from suing the state for damages caused by IDF soldiers during the second intifada. The court ruled that Palestinians who suffered damages in a situation that was demonstrably not combat-related could demand financial compensation. Two provisions were made to an amendment to the Civil Wrongs (Liability of the State) Law on July 27, 2005, and came to be known as the "Intifada Law." The first provision stated that citizens of enemy countries, terrorists and anyone executing a mission on behalf of either could not sue for damages under any circumstances. The ruling in December 2006 did not reject this provision. The second provision empowered the minister of defense to designate areas of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip as "conflict zones." The law was to be applied retroactively, starting with the beginning of the intifada and continuing for six months. During the time the areas were designated as "conflict zones," people living within them were unable to sue the state for damages for any injury caused by Israeli security forces, whether the injury was connected to the war against terrorism or not. It was the second provision which was rejected by the High Court. However, the proposal passed by the ministerial committee aims to reinstate the provision.