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From the field

27 July 2005: Knesset denies Palestinians the right to compensation

On Wednesday, 27 July 2005, the Knesset approved an amendment to the Civil Wrongs Law which will almost completely exempt Israel from paying compensation to Palestinians injured by the security forces.

Since 2002, Palestinians have not been able to sue the state for damages caused by combatant activity, broadly defined as, "…any action of combating terror, hostile actions, or insurrection, and action intended to prevent terror and hostile acts and insurrection committed in circumstances of danger to life or limb." The passing of the new amendment almost completely blocks the ability of Palestinians to file for compensation, even for damage caused by illegal shooting, looting, negligence on training grounds, abuse and degrading treatment at checkpoints, or physical violence.

The law is blatantly discriminatory in that it denies the right to sue for compensation based on the identity of the victim, rather than the substance of the claim.

Prior to the second and third readings of the law in the Knesset plenary, B'Tselem joined together with the Association for Civil Rights in Israel , HaMoked, the Public Committee against Torture in Israel , Adallah and Physicians for Human Rights-Israel to warn against the grave implications of passing such a law. The organizations calls on the government to remove this amendment from the Knesset docket, thereby preventing a stain upon its law books.