UN to aid Palestinian victims of settler violence in West Bank
Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights decides to fill vacuum left by Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
The United Nations is formulating a plan to provide emergency aid to Palestinians harmed by settler violence in the West Bank, Haaretz has learned. The move is said to be a consequence of the increased number of violent attacks, including bodily harm and damage to property (including the torching of cars and fields).
The Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority do not operate orderly mechanisms for providing compensation to the victims of violence in such cases. The United Nations' Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR - not related to the UN Human Rights Council, a body which Israel accuses of discriminating against it) is working on a systematic program on the matter. It is now working out the criteria, and looking for international organizations to provide the aid.
The aid will not only include monetary grants but also other means. The aid will be given on an individual basis, and the UN will estimate the damage in each specific case.
The PA does not currently provide any real aid to Palestinians who have been harmed in such cases. A Palestinian official told Haaretz that "the responsibility belongs to Israel, which controls the settlers. We have no resources."
The official added that "when they [settlers] set fire to a mosque, there is no problem to raise donations in an hour to repair the mosque. To raise help for private individuals is harder."
Israel does not compensate Palestinians harmed by Jewish nationalistic activities when they are located in the territories, since they are not included under the law on victims of hate crimes. In comparison, Israeli Arabs and Palestinians who enter Israel legally and then injured by Jewish violence, are entitled to compensation from the National Insurance Institute and the Tax Authority.
Israel also operates a committee for granting compensation above and beyond the strict requirements of the law for nationalistic acts, which compensates Palestinians. The committee was established in 1999 at the recommendation of then Attorney General Elyakim Rubinstein (now a Supreme Court justice).
The regulations governing such compensation were published and took effect in 2000. The criteria set for receiving compensation are, firstly, that the Benefits for Victims of Hostilities Law does not apply to them, that the party that caused the injury was not the Israel Defense Forces, and the injured party is not conducting any civil procedures against the state.
At the same time there is another committee, the "Others Committee," that compensates Palestinians harmed by the IDF, above and beyond the strict requirements of the law. This committee has only a small amount of activity and pays out sums to the tune of hundreds of thousands of shekels a year. Although the committee is not a secret, it does not have a website, and the Defense Ministry's website has no details of how to contact the committee.
This committee has handled a number of cases - for example, Palestinians whose property was damaged during the 2008 riots after the evacuation of the Brown House in Hebron.
Channel 10 reported this week that Israel recently paid NIS 114,000 to a Palestinian who received head injuries after a rock was thrown at him in the area near Yitzhar.
A Palestinian beaten near Ramallah received NIS 27,000, another Palestinian whose car was set on fire received NIS 28,000, and a Palestinian whose olive grove was destroyed received NIS 20,000.