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A decade after the military shot and killed a resident of the Qalandiya Refugee Camp: the state will compensate the deceased's family in the sum of ILS 400,000

At around noon, on April 15, 2002, a Palestinian resident of the Qalandiya Refugee Camp left the mosque after prayers. As he walked along the street, an Israeli soldier fired a single shot at him, the bullet entered through his back and exited through the chest. The soldier then got into a military vehicle and drove off. The man was rushed to the Arab Care Hospital in Ramallah, where he was pronounced dead. The deceased had been the sole provider of his family; he left behind four small children, his wife, and parents.

HaMoked wrote to the Military Advocate General (MAG), demanding an investigation into the circumstances of the killing and the prosecution of the soldiers involved. It took the MAG 18 months to decide the incident did not warrant an investigation, asserting that "even assuming the deceased died in the manner described by the two eye witness – there is no way of determining who was the soldier who did the shooting or which detachment he belonged to"! Furthermore, given the discrepancy between the accounts by the eye-witnesses and the assertions of the soldiers who had been in the Qalandiya area on that day, the MAG decided that there was no the need to consider the witnesses' credibility, and ordered that the case be closed without further action.

The deceased's family filed a civil claim via HaMoked before the MAG delivered its response as to the Military Investigation Unit's findings. In the claim, HaMoked asserted that the the State of Israel and the military were vicariously liable for the soldier's action, irrespective of his identity. The soldier fired at a man who was not involved in violent activity, in a residential area, for no reason, in a manner unjustified by the circumstances. HaMoked demanded the state compensate the deceased's family for loss of earnings, pain, suffering and the untimely death.

In its statement of defense, the state denied any responsibility for the death. The State's Attorney's Office denied all the facts presented in the statement of claim, and added that even if the military had killed the man, it constituted "an act of state", performed as part of "wartime action", therefore the state was released from the obligation to pay compensation.

One of the witnesses, a police officer who was present at the shooting, recounted in his affidavit: "we both walked together towards the house […] I was a few paces ahead of him; he was holding his son's hand […] I heard the sound of one shot, then turned to look behind, and saw my friend sprawled on the ground, he was lying on his stomach, I turned him on his back and saw he was bleeding, a lot of blood was coming out of his body; his son was bent over him, weeping; I then turned to look at the main road, and I saw one soldier standing there holding a weapon in his hand. After that, I took him in a small civilian car which passed by, over to the Arab Care Hospital in Ramallah. There, he was examined by physicians who said he was already dead on arrival."

On January 4, 2012, just under a decade after the man was killed, the court endorsed the parties' settlement agreement, whereby the state would compensate the deceased's family in the sum of ILS 400,000. (02) 627 1698   (02) 627 6317

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