Suit against IDF for killing Palestinian rejected

Wrongful death case was against state for killing of Ekel Saror during clashes over West Bank security barrier in 2009.

Palestinian protester 520 (photo credit: Reuters)
Palestinian protester 520
(photo credit: Reuters)
The Jerusalem District Court has rejected a civil damages claim in a wrongful death case against the state for the killing of Ekel Saror during clashes over the West Bank security barrier near Ni’lin between Palestinian protesters and the IDF in 2009, it was announced on Tuesday.
The actual decision against the six plaintiffs’ claim was rendered on Monday.
The court fully adopted the state’s version of events and fined the plaintiffs NIS 55,000 in legal fees and costs.
It accepted the argument that the soldier who shot Saror was acting in self-defense and reasonably believed that his life was in danger at the time.
Also, the court said that since the soldier believed his life was in danger, the “combat activities” exception deemed the state exempt from any liability even if there had been negligence.
The combat activities exception states that if a civilian or civilian property is unintentionally hurt or damaged by the state in a war zone – even if there is not an full-scale war going on at that time, but the area is in a general condition of war – the state gets a free pass and cannot be sued for civil damages.
The 2009 clashes do not technically constitute state of war, as the IDF was merely containing protests, even if the protests at some point became violent. However, the IDF’s official position is that there is still an armed conflict between Israel and adversaries in the West Bank.
That position – together with the soldiers’ belief that their lives were in danger once the protests became violent – was enough for the court to decide that the combat activities exception applied even during a protest.
Whereas the plaintiffs had complained that Saror was shot for no reason, the state said that a force of only three soldiers was temporarily left behind to cover the withdrawal of a larger force, and that this force was attacked with violent rock-throwing that posed a mortal threat to the soldiers.
The court also accused some of the plaintiffs’ witnesses of blatantly lying in their testimony.
The court said that it viewed the soldiers’ testimony as demonstrating that they had felt authentic fear for their lives.
In addition, the court said that the soldiers’ fear was reasonable as the rocks being thrown were large and that even after the soldiers fired warning shots towards the legs of a protester, several others continued to move toward them.