In a groundbreaking ruling, the Supreme Court on Wednesday successfully approved two judgments of nearly NIS 14 million against the Palestinian Authority for the false imprisonment of 51 Palestinians.
In December 2017, the District Court in Jerusalem issued a verdict in the case of approximately 900,000 NIS in the costs of legal services for the plaintiffs, and in June the verdict about NIS 13.1 million. against PA for false imprisonment.
In the first case, such an Israeli court in July 2017. He ruled that 51 Palestinians who were tortured by the AP for cooperation with Israel can sue the authorities for damages.
This 1860-page sentence, based on several dozen witnesses for several years, was one of the most bizarre years, since it included Palestinian citizens in the courts of Israeli "occupation" to obtain justice for their ill-treatment by their own AP enforcement law.
PA appealed all decisions of the District Court to the Supreme Court and demanded that the lower court's decisions be withheld until the decision on the appeal was taken.
Judge Yosef Elron's rejection of PA's appeal means that PA is now obliged under Israeli law to immediately pay 51 Palestinians – though there are still questions about how the parties can realistically get together.
Hoping to deter the court, PA warned that the need to pay damages and possibly much more future damage could result in the collapse of PA. (NIS 14 million concerned only false imprisonment, which may be paler in comparison with damages that the Regional Court could later make due to full responsibility for torture.) PA hoped that increasing the picture would discourage the court.
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In addition, the AP said that if the Supreme Court makes appeals after having already paid 51 Palestinians, it may be almost impossible to recover this money for so many reasons, many of whom are stateless and may "disappear in the wind".
Elron said he recognized the problem and ordered NIS 14m. be in possession of the plaintiff's lawyers in fiduciary matters until the appeal is resolved.
In general, Elron said that PA did not provide specific evidence to show the supposed economic, catastrophic impact that the judgment would have had on it.
At earlier stages, the plaintiffs were represented by the resident Elon Moreh and lawyer Menachem Kornvich. In recent years, however, they were represented by legal partners Barak Kedem, Aryeh Arbus, Netanel Rom and David Zurwill, who plan to push for much higher compensation for torture.
In an important decision of July 2017, the Regional Court stated that the Palestinian Authority was torturing various reasons, "beating all parts of the body, hitting them with lead pipes, extinguishing cigarettes on their bodies, hanging them in torture for hours and starving them. "
Some of the reasons "were also exposed to extreme heat and frosts, and very hot or cold water was thrown on them", and the authorities ordered the doctors to take out healthy teeth instead of dealing with unhealthy teeth.
PA attempted to defend against the decision of July 2017. At all stages he denied that his staff had carried out torture. In addition, the AP alternately claimed that he had the right to arrest and pressure some prisoners who jeopardized the security and living interests of PA, by spying on or cooperating with Israel. He also claimed that Israel has no jurisdiction over the Palestinians because they are PA citizens.
Moreover, PA claims that international law, not local Israeli law regarding injuries, should regulate the handling of these matters.
In addition to eight reasons that the court considered to be ordinary criminals, the court rejected the defense of PA.
In particular, the court said that if the Palestinians cooperate with Israel to thwart terrorist attacks on Israelis, PA is also obliged to assist in such efforts under the Oslo Accords. In this connection, the court stated that PA can not treat Palestinians as criminals, let alone torture them.
What's more, the court found that in some cases the AP arrested Palestinians when they were in the green line or arrested Arabs who had Israeli citizenship.
In both cases, the court stated that PA had no power under the Oslo Accords.
This case is likely to cause serious diplomatic and legal complications between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, especially as to whether and how PA will pay compensation.
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