State Asks High Court to Not Declare Operation Protective Edge a War

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IDF tank fires at Gaza during Operation Protective Edge.Credit: Moti Milrod

The state asked the High Court of Justice on Tuesday to reject a petition seeking to force it to declare Operation Protective Edge a war.

In its brief, the state insisted there is no connection between whether the fighting is deemed an operation or a war and the amount of compensation Israelis who were hurt by the fighting will receive.

The petition, filed last week by MK Nachman Shai (Labor) and an organization called Hahazit Lehaganat Hatzibur (“the front to protect the public”) argued that it was important for “social and economic” reasons to call the operation a war, as “citizens are entitled to compensation for direct and indirect damage” from the fighting.

The state argued that compensation for war damage is regulated by the Property Tax and Compensation Fund Law, which does not require a “war” label in order to pay compensation. Moreover, it said, the cabinet had already approved measures “to provide a broad answer to socioeconomic issues” related to the fighting.

In any case, the brief said, there is no basis for forcing the cabinet to declare the operation a war and no grounds for the court to intervene in the decision not to do so. “Declaring war is an issue of foreign and defense policy, which also has implications for international and diplomatic relations,” it said.

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon has decided to declare the service of army reservists during the fighting “emergency service.” This declaration will entitle the tens of thousands of reservists called up for the operation to postpone various payments, including rent and any payments to state agencies, for up to 30 days after they are demobilized.

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