The Intifada Law: What’s A Law!

The Intifada Law: What’s A Law!

Ha’aretz, December 21, 1997; translated by Shabatai Zvi
By Gideon Levy, Ha’aretz,

Injustice leads to injustice and a sin leads to another. First, Israel murdered 1,346 Palestinians among whom were 276 children. Some of them were mere innocent passersby. And now, she is repudiating herself from the responsibility. The Intifada Law which is aimed at stifling the right of the Palestinians, victims of the Intifada, to receive some compensation from the state is going at an intense speed. Yitzhak Rabin started the initiative; Shimon Peres pushed it forward; and now Minister of Justice, Tsahi HaNagbi, delivered for its ethical basis when he said that law has an absolute ethical power.

The Likud Party and some of the Labour stand in a uniquely unified demonstration around a law that legal experts think that it will not pass the test of the High (Supreme) Court. And soon, the Knesset will approve one of the most eloquent laws in its history.

During the period of Rabin and Peres, they talked about the principles of the law, even baseless [mutual cancellation of compensation rights between Palestinians and Israelis.]… and now, the Minister of Justice says that the purpose of the law is to protect the State Budget. So the goal is to save money at any price, and to hell with justice.

Attorney Generals and security representatives intimidated the Constitution Committee last week and warned them from a torrent of lawsuits that is about to knock the State treasury; a billion Shekel, according to some adjusters. Some attorneys who work as arbitrators in these cases spoke about inflated compensations for the victims. An eye loss costs between 80,000 – 280,000 Shekel ($23,000 – 80,000 US.) The economy will not last without some silky gloves to face spending.

Those who support the law described the Israeli courts as think-less, useless tools. They are pushing to legislate the law retroactively.

All the excuses were garnered for this law. It was said that the Intifada was an act of war. But in such a case, are we willing to deal with it in that way and treat its prisoners as prisoners of war? Are we willing to accept that?

The former Legal Advisor, Michael Ben Yaer, who was one of the bravest and strongest opponents for the law, … spoke last weekend against the lack of distinguishing between a police act under occupation and an an act of war. He said that “history will judge us one day for our acts in the territories and that this law will make this (historical) judgment stronger.” The Dean of the School of Law at the Hebrew University, Uriel Brooktcia, said that the the only justification left for the proponents of the law is the names of the victims which are Dahud, Ibrahim, and Yousef. If the names were David, Abraham, and Joseph, they would not have thought about legislating this law.

There are facts that need to be considered. The majority of the Intifada victims did not press lawsuits, and the majority of those will not do it. The road between the refugee camp and the Israeli house of justice is too long and vexatious. Besides that, the majority of their cases may not be compensative as they have to prove that their injuries were the result of negligence and not out of the result of soldiers’ self defense acts. So, the discussion is about those who did not jeopardize anyone’s life……

From now on, there will be a law in the Central Courts, one in Netanya and another in Jerusalem to verify the origin of the complainants. There will be a law for the Israeli residents and another for those of the territories.

Therefore, the law comes to shut down a human opportunity left for the besieged and occupied Palestinians. And it will close another window for our moral character. This State that invests 2.18 billion Shekel in rehabilitating Israeli soldiers is not willing to spend an additional few millions for Palestinian children and youths who were injured at no fault. The (Palestinian) blind youth Ashraf Ibrahim of Ein Shams, the family of the killed child Rafedeh Abu Laban of Al Adheshe, and the thirteen orphans of Mohmmad Ismail Abdin do deserve compensations. But Israel who does not show any willingness to discuss the compensations for the injustice of the year 1948, is attempting to repudiate herself from an ethical responsibility, one more time.

You, the (Palestinian) widows and orphans will have a special law for you. Is not that laughable for the legislators? top of page