Fatmeh El-‘Ajou; Obstacles for Palestinians in Seeking Civil Remedies for Damages before Israeli Courts, Adalah briefing paper

This article examines in details the current obstacles that Palestinians have to face in seeking compensation for damages before Israeli Courts.  Israel’s efforts to block these lawsuits intensified following the Second Intifada and have been manifested in a series of amendments to the law on compensation for civil torts ever since. (See Civil Wrongs Law 1952 incl.amendments under Legal Instruments in this section).

The barriers to an effective remedy are substantial, procedural and practical. The author notes the heavy burden imposed by the requirement of advance payment of a deposit wih the court. For lawsuits in the wake of ‘Operation Cast Lead’ the average guarantee was NIS 30,000 (US$8,570 or EUR 6,120). Consequently, many lawsuits were dismissed for failure to pay or to pay on time. In addition the obstacle imposed by daily road blocks and restrictions on entry into Israel often mean that claimants cannot enter Israel in order e.g. to submit affidavits, undergo required mediacl examinations or appear at their own hearing. This can lead to dismissal for failure to comply with the obligations encumbent upon a claimant.

Drawing on his personal experience as a litigator, the author describes each of these obstacles, providing extensive reference to recent case law and court rulings.