Sderot merchants refuse to leave court

Say Knesset decision making Sderot eligible for border settlement benefits not implemented.

Sderot protest 224.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Sderot protest 224.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Dozens of angry Sderot merchants refused to leave the courtroom on Sunday after the High Court of Justice failed to hand down a final verdict on their petition demanding compensation for the losses in income they have suffered as a result of terrorist rocket attacks. During Sunday's hearing, the state informed the court that a committee appointed by Finance Minister Ronnie Bar-On had submitted earlier in the day a final report which included recommendations for providing help for all communities classified as border settlements, including Sderot and the Gaza Strip periphery. In the case of Sderot and the periphery, the recommendations include compensation retroactive to the Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip. Bar-On said he would decide on the recommendations within 21 days. The petitioners complained that since a provisional law granting compensation for damages caused by the terrorist attacks had expired in August, they had not received any compensation for the past seven months. The court asked the state for an update on the Treasury report in 10 days and then gave the petitioners four days to respond. However, the decision infuriated the businessmen, who had wanted a final verdict granting their demands. When the judges and court security failed to silence the crowd, the judges decided to conclude the session and left the courtroom, leaving the protesters chanting slogans against the government and judiciary system. Court security refused to allow journalists back into the building to talk to the protesters. The merchants remained inside the building until 9:30 p.m., the Courts Administration spokeswoman told The Jerusalem Post a few minutes after they vacated the building. The spokeswoman said the merchants left the building voluntarily and that the court security detail did not use force against them.