The Plaintiff, a Jerusalem resident, was arrested in Ramallah in April 2002 during “Operation Defensive Shield.” He was not given any reason for his arrest. The soldiers who detained him blindfolded and handcuffed him, took him to a nearby building, beat him and threatened him with their weapons. The Plaintiff was then placed on a bus where he continued to suffer abuse. He was taken to Ofer Prison. He was initially placed in a narrow room filled with a large number of detainees who had been held for four days handcuffed and blindfolded. The room was not large enough to enable all the occupants to sit down, let alone to lie down and sleep. The only food the Plaintiff received during this period was Matza (dry crackers eaten over the Jewish Passover holiday) and water. He was later taken to a shed that had previously been used to store heavy vehicles. The shed was open to the elements at one side and did not offer shelter from the wind in any direction. The weather was very cold at the time but each detainee received just one blanket. There was very little food and the conditions were appalling. The Plaintiff was held for 21 days. On the day of his release he was handcuffed and made to wait for many hours without food or water. The military eventually took him to the Qalandiya checkpoint. He was not permitted to travel to Jerusalem (where he lives) and was obliged to reach Ramallah. His personal belongings taken at the time of his arrest, including his identity card and money, were not returned to him.
The Plaintiff was one of hundreds of detainees held by the military during “Operation Defensive Shield” in appalling conditions that violate Israel’s obligations under its own laws. The Court ruled that “even in such a situation, everything must be done to observe minimum requirements regarding conditions of detention. This was not done during detention in the temporary centers, violating the provisions of the incarceration warrant, the rules of international law as these apply in the Area, and the basic principles of Israeli administrative law.”
On 25 April 2004 HaMoked submitted a suit for damages against the State of Israel on the Plaintiff’s behalf. The suit claims that the State is liable for the soldiers’ actions. HaMoked argues that the State violated its obligations toward the Plaintiff in accordance with Israeli law and in accordance with international humanitarian law. The statement of claim notes that the assault on the Plaintiff was not an isolated incident: violence and humiliation became the norm during detentions in the framework of “Operation Defensive Shield.”
In its statement of defense submitted on 17 February 2005, the State denied all the facts presented in the statement of claim. The State further argued that even if the Plaintiff incurred damages, this occurred during “wartime action” on account of which the state is exempt from liability for damages. The State also claimed that the incident mentioned in the statement of claim constitutes an “act of state,” on account of which the state is also exempt from liability for damages. In an effort to divert the hearing and add a political note to the case, the State sought to attach as defendants individuals suspected of involvement in the attack at the Park Hotel in Netanya – following which Israel launched “Operation Defensive Shield.” The State sought to send third party notifications to these individuals, despite the absence of any causal or legal connection between their alleged actions and the damage incurred by the Plaintiff.
In a compromise agreement signed by the State and the Plaintiff on 4 February 2008, the State undertook to pay the Plaintiff the sum of NIS 105,000.