Israelis Can Sue the Palestinian Authority Over Terror Attacks, Top Court Rules

The Supreme Court said that the Palestinian Authority may be liable for compensation due to the stipends it gives Palestinians convicted of terrorism by Israel and their families

Chen Maanit
Chen Maanit
The scene of a terror attack in Tel Aviv, this week.
The scene of a terror attack in Tel Aviv, this week.Credit: Moti Milrod
Chen Maanit
Chen Maanit

Israel's Supreme Court ruled Sunday that the Palestinian Authority is complicit in terror attacks carried out by Palestinians and may by liable for damages to Israeli victims.

The court cited payments by the Palestinian Authority to Palestinians convicted by Israel of security offenses and to the families of Palestinians who committed attacks against Israelis.

The decision, which allows Israeli victims or their families to sue the Palestinian Authority for financial compensation, was reached after Justices Isaac Amit and David Mintz concurred and Justice Ofer Grosskopf dissented.

The verdict was handed in an appeal filed by four individuals who lost family members in one of four deadly attacks that took place in Jerusalem during the second intifada, in 2001 and 2002.

The case will now be returned to the Jerusalem District Court, which will determine the compensation owed to the four by the PA.

However, on a 2-1 majority, with Justices Amit and Grosskopf concurring and Justice Mintz dissenting, it was ruled that there is no cause to require the Palestinian Authority to pay additional damages, defined as ‘"punitive."

Israel's Supreme Court.Credit: Michal Fattal

Justice Amit stated that there is no cause to impose punitive damages, Mintz thought that there is such cause, while Grosskopf determined that the issue does not need to be decided at this time.

The Palestinian Authority provides special compensation for Palestinians who committed security offenses and who have been tried and sentenced to prison terms in Israel. The more serious the security offense and the longer the prison term, the greater the financial award, which can reach up to four times the average monthly salary in the PA territories.

Qadura Fares, director of the Palestinian Prisoners' Club, a nongovernmental organization considered the leader in the public and legal fight for prisoners’ rights, told Haaretz that "what the Palestinian Authority pays prisoners and their families is a social 'umbrella of protection' for families who have lost their sole breadwinner and their source of livelihood."

"The Supreme Court's decision proves that all institutions of the State of Israel, including the Supreme Court, align themselves with everything against the Palestinian people and against the Palestinian Authority," the director said.

Jack Khoury contributed to this report.

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