The Jerusalem Magistrates’ Court ordered the state to compensate a Palestinian for money stolen from his home during a military operation: the state appeals המוקד להגנת הפרט
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08.03.2011
The Jerusalem Magistrates’ Court ordered the state to compensate a Palestinian for money stolen from his home during a military operation: the state appeals
The Jerusalem Magistrates’ Court ordered the state to compensate a Palestinian for money stolen from his home during a military operation: the state appeals
On January 21, 2002, late at night, soldiers raided a residential building in Tulkarem and ordered the occupants to clear the building. The soldiers then entered and searched four apartments in the building, including that of the plaintiff. Once the search was over, the plaintiff returned to his apartment to discover the soldiers had caused much damage to his home and belongings. He also discovered that a large amount of cash-  NIS50,000 and $13,500 - which had been kept in an unlocked safe, had disappeared during the search.

The plaintiff, a tradesman, went to the Tulkarem District Coordination Office (DCO) to repot the incident, and two months later he was summoned to give a statement. In March 2003, applying on his behalf, HaMoked inquired with the Central Command military prosecutor as to the status of the investigation into the case. In reply, it was informed that it had been decided to close the case, as allegations of the theft during the operation were not substantiated. HaMoked requested to receive the investigation material, and received it after a year of waiting. In July 2004, HaMoked filed civil suit on behalf of the plaintiff against the state and the military for the monetary damage he incurred during the operation.

The state demanded a summary dismissal of the suit. The statement of defense relied, inter alia, on a section of the Civil Wrongs (Liability of the State) Law, which exempts the state from liability for damage sustained inside a "conflict zone". In early 2007, in a petition against the legality of the Civil Wrongs Law, the section had been voided by the High Court of Justice (HCJ). The state also argued that the search had been conducted as part of a "wartime action", which shields the state from civil liability, and that it was not responsible for an act of looting.

Based on the evident reliability of the plaintiff, and on the testimonies of several soldiers who had participated in the operation which affirmed that a large sum of money had been uncovered during the search of the apartment, the court dismissed the state's claim that someone else had stolen the money, and ruled that although the state was not vicariously liable for the theft, "it does not lead to the dismissal of the claim". The court ordered the state to pay the plaintiff damages in the sum of 111,860 NIS, plus linkage differentials and interest from the claim's filing date.

In October 2010, the state appealed the judgment, focusing on the issue of "wartime action", along side arguments on the alleged unreliability of the plaintiff and the soldiers' lack of involvement in the disappearance of his money. The appeal hearing is set for March 2011.
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On January 21, 2002, late at night, soldiers raided a residential building in Tulkarem and ordered the occupants to clear the building. The soldiers then entered and searched four apartments in the building, including that of the plaintiff. Once the search was over, the plaintiff returned to his apartment to discover the soldiers had caused much damage to his home and belongings. He also discovered that a large amount of cash-  NIS50,000 and $13,500 - which had been kept in an unlocked safe, had disappeared during the search.

The plaintiff, a tradesman, went to the Tulkarem District Coordination Office (DCO) to repot the incident, and two months later he was summoned to give a statement. In March 2003, applying on his behalf, HaMoked inquired with the Central Command military prosecutor as to the status of the investigation into the case. In reply, it was informed that it had been decided to close the case, as allegations of the theft during the operation were not substantiated. HaMoked requested to receive the investigation material, and received it after a year of waiting. In July 2004, HaMoked filed civil suit on behalf of the plaintiff against the state and the military for the monetary damage he incurred during the operation.

The state demanded a summary dismissal of the suit. The statement of defense relied, inter alia, on a section of the Civil Wrongs (Liability of the State) Law, which exempts the state from liability for damage sustained inside a "conflict zone". In early 2007, in a petition against the legality of the Civil Wrongs Law, the section had been voided by the High Court of Justice (HCJ). The state also argued that the search had been conducted as part of a "wartime action", which shields the state from civil liability, and that it was not responsible for an act of looting.

Based on the evident reliability of the plaintiff, and on the testimonies of several soldiers who had participated in the operation which affirmed that a large sum of money had been uncovered during the search of the apartment, the court dismissed the state's claim that someone else had stolen the money, and ruled that although the state was not vicariously liable for the theft, "it does not lead to the dismissal of the claim". The court ordered the state to pay the plaintiff damages in the sum of 111,860 NIS, plus linkage differentials and interest from the claim's filing date.

In October 2010, the state appealed the judgment, focusing on the issue of "wartime action", along side arguments on the alleged unreliability of the plaintiff and the soldiers' lack of involvement in the disappearance of his money. The appeal hearing is set for March 2011.
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