Soldiers arrest a protester during a demonstration in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh
Soldiers arrest a protester during a demonstration in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh. Photo by Neriman Tamimi
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The Israel Defense Forces will pay a Palestinian shepherd NIS 10,000 in legal expenses, after GOC Central Commander Maj. Gen. Nitzan Alon finally signed a document annulling the shepherd’s right to sue the IDF three years after the lawsuit was submitted.

Mohammed Shamasna, a shepherd from Katna in Samaria, was hit in the leg by a bullet fired from a Ruger rifle in November 2007. On that day, during a demonstration against the separation barrier that was erected in area, a unit of solders disguised as Arabs came to disperse the demonstration and mistakenly shot the shepherd in the leg.

Shamasna subsequently needed several operations and a lengthy rehabilitation process, and he sued the IDF for damages. According to customary practice in the territories, a resident wounded by the IDF can submit a complaint to the commander of the ombudsman’s office. However, if the area commander declares that injury was caused during the course of a necessary military operation, no damages will be paid.

In Shamasna’s case, the commander of Judea and Samaria did not issue such a document. Shamasna's complaint was later rejected and the case was transferred to the Judea and Samaria appeals committee in May 2009.

The pretrial procedures stretched out over a long period, while the Military Advocate General's Office continued to object to paying any damages. Both sides submitted affidavits, medical opinions, evidence and other legal documents.

It took three years after the complaint was submitted for the Military Advocate General’s Office to announce in May 2012 that Maj. Gen. Alon had signed a decree declaring the event a military operation, thus canceling the suit.

The fact that the decree was issued so long after the event indicates a lack of integrity and was done solely to block the suit, said Shamasna’s attorney, Laviv Habib.