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The Constitution, Law, and Justice Committee of the Knesset reviews the amendment to the Civil Wrongs (Liability of State) Law: HaMoked reasserts that this is an unconstitutional amendment, aimed at exempting the state from its responsibility for damages it caused to Palestinians of the Occupied Territories

Amendment 8, now reviewed in the committee, serves a clear propose: to nullify the High Court of Justice (HCJ) judgment in HCJ 8276/05. This is an underhanded attempt to place the executive authority and the military forces above the law, to acquit them of any judicial criticism regarding their acts of human rights violations and to absolve them of the responsibility for their actions. In December 2006, a panel of nine justices unanimously ruled to rescind a similar law. The HCJ justices found that the law clashes with Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty, given that it violates the rights to life, dignity, property and liberty. It is therefore quite evident that the bill is a transparent attempt by certain elements in the Knesset to declare war on the HCJ.
The bill is set to apply retroactively to damages sustained from 2000 onwards, and stipulates that even in unlawful acts, outside any wartime action, the victims - orphans, widows, handicapped persons or the dispossessed whose property was destroyed – are to be left without legal remedy, and without anyone being held accountable. In a position paper presented by HaMoked, Adalah and the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, the organizations severely criticize the amendment and clarify that it is still more harmful than the law that the HCJ had dismissed. 
The organizations also warn that in the absence of a possibility to claim damages, the ability to investigate incidents of wanton damage to property, theft and abuse by soldiers or other members of the security forces would be further curtailed. The amendment is liable to add Israel to the list of pariah states without judicial protection of human rights. It should be noted that the amendment might also jeopardize Israeli citizens:  the law would empower the Defense Minister to declare areas inside Israel as "combat zones", thus preventing their inhabitants who were injured by security forces activity, from suing the security forces.   
Furthermore, the bill extends the application of the article which sets to relieve the state of responsibility for any damage sustained by Gaza residents. HaMoked now handles several claims of Gaza residents, whose progress is directly compromised by this law and by the Israeli policy of hermetic closure, imposed on Gaza for over three years.  
In one such instance HaMoked had to withdraw its claim, concerning the March 2003 killing of a Gazan youth by military forces, while he was trying to aid people who had been wounded by military fire, in the courtyard of his home, in a neighborhood of Khan Yunis.  HaMoked withdrew the claim after protracted stalling of procedure, and the lagging of the case in court, which was partly due to the refusal of military to allow the claimants and witnesses in the case to enter Israel to participate in the procedures. 
The memorandum on amendment 8 to the Civil Wrongs (Liability of State) Law contravenes the fundamental principles of both Israeli and international law. In view of the drafters' attempt to bypass the ruling of the Supreme Court, and also to expand the law’s damage, HaMoked calls for the immediate suppression of the bill. (02) 627 1698   (02) 627 6317

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