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New policy: after demolishing the assailants’ family homes, Israel now files lawsuits against the families

On June 21, 2017, Israel filed a lawsuit against the “heirs and estate” of the man who perpetrated an attack in Armon HaNatziv in Jerusalem on January 8, 2017. In lawsuit, for 8 million ILS, the state asks the court to order the widow and children of the assailant to compensate it for the expenses incurred by the attack. Thus also in another lawsuit, filed at about the same time, against the family members of the man who perpetrated the attack in Ammunition Hill in Jerusalem on October 9, 2016. These lawsuits are part of a new Israeli policy to file lawsuits against relatives of assailants who committed attacks against Israelis.

Following media reports on this matter, HaMoked sent a stern letter to the State Attorney’s Office on September 5, 2017, criticizing this policy and asking for clarifications.

In its letter, HaMoked asserted, inter alia, that a lawsuit intended to retrieve costs to the public treasury is indeed worthy and serves a public interest. But in these cases it does not seem to be the real motivation, especially as the state may incur losses as result of these lawsuits. This because in most cases the assailants are young and have not yet accumulated property; moreover, soon after the attacks, the state hastens to punitively demolish the only valuable property in the deceased’s estate – that is the family home – leaving the family without a roof over their heads. Shortly after, in another capacity, the state seeks to sue the estate and leave the family with nothing.

HaMoked also stressed that the state cannot sue for higher sums than exist in the estate, and that the higher amounts now sued are meant merely to arose fear. HaMoked added that the fact that this measure was used against families of Palestinians assailants only was worrying.

In these circumstances, HaMoked stressed, the new policy appears unjust and unreasonable, seems to be pursued without good faith and prompted by nothing but vengeance.

On September 19, 2017, the state response arrived. In it, the state did not address any of HaMoked’s assertions, except that the new policy applies to Palestinians only, saying that it would apply the new policy to Palestinian and Jewish assailants alike, without distinction.

Following the state’s response, HaMoked wrote back on October 9, 2017, asking for a pertinent response to its initial letter. (02) 627 1698   (02) 627 6317

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