Palestinian family can apply to exceptions committee, while settlers are automatically compensated for similar attacks.
Revital Hovel For Haaretz
Though there’s no dispute in Israel that the July 31 arson attack on the Dawabsheh family in Duma was a terror attack, the family won’t be entitled to the government compensation granted Israeli victims of terror.
The attack killed two members of the family, father Sa’ad and 18-month-old Ali, and seriously wounded the mother and the elder son, aged 4.
The law governing compensation to victims of terror applies only to Israeli citizens and residents – including West Bank settlers, who live in territory Israel never annexed. In 2006, following a shooting spree by a Jewish gunman the previous year that killed four Arabs in Shfaram, the law was amended to encompass Jewish terror attacks against Israeli Arabs as well, as long as they “stem from the Israeli-Arab conflict.” But it still applies only to Israeli citizens or residents.
Thus to seek compensation under the law, the Dawabsheh family would have to apply to a special interministerial exceptions committee that has operated under the Defense Ministry’s auspices since 1999.
Earlier this week, MK Yousef Jabareen (Joint Arab List) asked Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein to apply the law to all Palestinian victims of Jewish terror.
“The case of the Dawabsheh family underscores the absurdity that exists today in the legal and political arrangements related to paying compensation,” he wrote. “While the legal situation in Israel ensures payment of compensation for life and property to victims of attacks perpetrated by Palestinians, Palestinian victims of attacks perpetrated by Jews aren’t entitled to any compensation. In practice, this situation leaves the Dawabsheh family with no compensation, whereas Jewish victims in similar circumstances would be entitled to compensation from the state.”
Jabareen said this constitutes unacceptable discrimination. “Victims of nationalist attacks should be entitled to compensation from the state regardless of whether they are Jews or Arabs,” he wrote.
Dan Yakir, chief legal counsel of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, concurred. “This is another example of the intolerable gap between settlers and Palestinians in the West Bank, in every walk of life,” he said.
While settlers are compensated for terror attacks automatically, a Palestinian victim of terror must apply to the exceptions committee “and essentially ask the Defense Ministry to help him as an act of grace,” Yakir continued. “This is intolerable, especially in light of the incident’s severity and the severe harm the Dawabsheh family suffered. The Defense Ministry should grant full compensation to the family of its own initiative, even without a request from them.”
He also proposed that the Israel Defense Forces commander in the West Bank, who is technically the sovereign there, issue an order applying the principles of the Israeli law to Palestinian terror victims. “This is his moral obligation, and also his obligation under international law,” Yakir said.
Jabareen’s letter to Weinstein noted that the harm suffered by the Dawabshehs was “terrible and irreversible. No amount of money can compensate the family for its losses.”
Nevertheless, he added, that doesn’t justify refusing to pay it, especially since Palestinians are in extra need of such help.
“This is a population without means or resources, which has been under Israeli control for about five decades,” he wrote. “Therefore, the state cannot deny its obligation to take care of this population. As long as the state controls the Palestinian territories, it is obligated under international law to protect Palestinian residents of the place, including the obligation to compensate them for crimes of hatred and racism against them simply because they are Palestinians.”
Weinstein’s office said that Jabareen’s letter had been received “and will be answered in the customary fashion.”
SALFIT (Ma’an) — Israeli forces on Monday demolished a home under construction in the village of Deir Ballut in western Salfit and delivered demolition orders in western Nablus, locals said.
JERUSALEM (AFP) — Israel has released all suspects detained in raids as part of a probe into the firebombing of a Palestinian home that killed an 18-month-old child and his father, Israeli authorities said Monday.They did not provide the number of those detained in the raids early Sunday in Jewish settlement outposts in the occupied West Bank near the Palestinian village of Duma, where the July 31 firebombing occurred.Outposts in the Israeli-occupied West Bank are notorious for housing young Jewish hardliners, referred to as hilltop youth.”All those arrested yesterday for interrogation have been released,” a spokeswoman for the Shin Bet domestic security agency told AFP, without providing further details.The raids came as Israel seeks to crack down on Jewish extremists following the firebombing that also critically wounded the toddler’s mother and four-year-old brother.The attack has led to pressure on the government to act against Jewish extremists accused of being behind a series of hate crimes and nationalist attacks, including a stabbing attack at a Gay Pride parade in West Jerusalem last month that killed a 16-year-old girl and wounded five people.Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has labelled the firebombing “terrorism” and pledged to use all legal means to track down the perpetrators.However, many Palestinians have pointed out that Israeli government policies — including support for settlement expansion and frequent impunity for settlers — allowed for the firebombing to take place.In addition to Sunday’s raids, three alleged Jewish extremists have been placed in a controversial form of detention without trial usually used for Palestinians.Over 85 percent of investigations into settler violence are closed without indictments, Israeli rights group Yesh Din says.The 100 or so Jewish outposts in the occupied West Bank are not officially recognized by the Israeli government but receive support and assistance from government ministries.Since occupying the West Bank and East Jerusalem in 1967, Israel has built over 125 Jewish-only settlements across the territories with a settler population of over 500,000, in contravention of international law.
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Israeli hospital doctors on Sunday refused to force feed a Palestinian prisoner who has been on hunger strike more than 50 days, an international rights group said.Physicians for Human Rights Israel tweeted on Sunday afternoon: “Hunger striker Muhammad Allan’s hospital doctors refuse to treat him against his will.”The rights group could not be reached for further comment and the claim could not be verified.Israeli authorities on Saturday declared their intention to force feed prisoner Muhammed Allan, who on Sunday marked his 56th day on hunger strike.If carried out, it would be the first case since the adoption last month of a new Israeli law permitting the practice.The International Committee of the Red Cross warned Friday that Allan, who has been held without trial since November, was “at immediate risk” of death after fasting for 50 days.Allan’s attorney Jamil al-Khatib said he had informed Allan of Israel’s plans to force feed him, but said that it had not changed “his intention to continue his strike.”He added that Allan was placed in intensive hospital care when his body became unable to absorb drinking water.Palestinian health minister warned Saturday that the force feeding procedure itself would endanger Allaan’s life.Allaan, himself a lawyer, is being held under a procedure allowing indefinite internment without trial or charge.On July 30, the Israeli Knesset approved a law allowing prisoners on hunger strike facing death to be force fed, sparking criticism from rights groups and doctors.The Israeli Medical Association called the law “damaging and unnecessary,” stressing that its doctors would “continue to act according to medical ethics, which prohibit doctors from participating in torturing prisoners.”In 2014, the association issued guidelines for the treatment of hunger strikers, saying that all treatment must be carried out “in accordance with the patient’s free will.”It added: “In accordance with generally accepted ethical principles in Israel and abroad, forced medical treatment, including force-feeding, is forbidden.”The UN issued a statement on Sunday condemning the new law, saying that it was a violation of the “fundamental human right” to peaceful protest.The ICRC also opposes forced feeding, saying: “It is essential that the detainees’ choices be respected and their human dignity preserved.”International guidelines for physicians, particularly the Tokyo Declaration, state that prisoners capable of rational judgement “shall not be fed artificially.”
NABLUS (Ma’an) — Extremist Israeli settlers attacked a Palestinian home with fire bombs and rocks in the village of Duma south of Nablus in the northern West Bank on Saturday morning, Palestinian officials told Ma’an.