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Gaza battle could trigger compensation claims flood

By Candy Ikokwu

26 November 2012 at 13:13 BST

The Israeli government could face multiple court cases and a huge compensation bill following its recent eight-day fight with Hamas and other forces in Gaza, according to legal commentators in the battle-torn region.

Gaza: compensation claims

Gaza: compensation claims mikhail/Shutterstock.com

A recent report in USA Today cites Hebrew-language financial newspaper, The Marker, as estimating the cost of the conflict will top $260million in compensation for victims, with an additional $52million potentially going to businesses.

Strict border controls

Israel maintains strict border controls on Gaza, which it has declared ‘hostile territory’ following elections in 2006 that handed radical Islamic group Hamas control of the area. Lawyer Fatmeh El-Jou of Adalah, a Palestinian human rights group, told the Al Jazeera broadcast network that Israeli law allows Palestinians to bring a case before the country’s courts, but the strict border controls are preventing access. ‘The court has declared their right as a constitutional right,’ she said, ‘but the state in different practices is refusing to implement that’.
Al Jazeera also reports on the 10-year case of Abu Daqqa, who is seeking to bring a damages claim in Israel’s courts for injuries he says were caused by an Israeli soldier. According to the report, Mr Daqqa filed his case in the Jerusalem District Court and received a hearing date. His lawyer was subsequently denied a permit for Mr Daqqa and witnesses to enter Israeli territory, putting the case on hold.

Exceptional cases

The Israeli Civil Administration issued a statement saying: ‘Entry into Israel from the Gaza strip is only permitted in exceptional humanitarian cases. An entry to Israel for legal proceedings is not an exceptional humanitarian case.... However, the authorities will consider responding to such requests in exceptional cases with humanitarian grounds… This will be approved only if there is no security or criminal prevention from entering Israel and if the denial of entry would thwart the judicial process.’
Hamzi Shakura, also from the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, told Aljazeera, that nearly 500 legal claims were filed against Israel following Operation Cast Lead in 2008-2009. Commentators are already predicting that this month’s conflict will see many more.


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