Jerusalem court: PA must compensate Israeli tour guides for 2nd Intifada losses

Judge holds Ramallah liable for millions of shekels in damages to tourism industry during terror campaign in the early 2000s

Illustrative: A guided tour in Jerusalem. April 14, 2010. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)
Illustrative: A guided tour in Jerusalem. April 14, 2010. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

A Jerusalem court ruled on Tuesday that the Palestinian Authority must compensate dozens of Israeli tour guides for financial damage incurred during the Second Intifada.

The tour guides’ lawsuit claimed their livelihoods suffered during the Palestinian terror campaign and held the PA responsible.

The Second Intifada, a time of numerous Palestinian terror attacks, Israeli military operations and mass unrest, lasted between September 2000 and 2005, during which time it was supported by the PA, then led by Yasser Arafat.

The plaintiffs — 59 tour guides represented by the Shurat HaDin law center— said terror attacks and threats of violence caused a severe blow to the tourism industry at the time.

The lawsuit was filed around 20 years ago, at the height of the intifada.

The compensation for the plaintiffs amounted to a total of NIS 5.5 million ($1.5 million).

In a partial ruling on the case in 2019, Judge Moshe Drori held the PA responsible for terror attacks and the resulting economic damage to the Israeli tourism industry.

“The Palestinian Authority had several aims — not just to kill Jews and Israelis, but also to damage Israel’s economy, including tourism, to put pressure on the Israeli government to submit to Palestinian demands,” Drori said, according to Kan news.

A representative for the PA argued that tourism at the time declined for a number of reasons, including a global economic downturn and the September 11 terror attacks in the US.

The judge rejected this argument, and ruled that the PA was responsible for 95.4% of the reduction to guides’ income between October 2000 and May 2002.

The PA also argued that the Israeli government and settlers were responsible for the conflict, and that terrorism had also hurt the Palestinian economy.

This argument was also dismissed, with the court citing statements from jailed Palestinian leader Marwan Barghouti, who said one of the goals of the terror attacks was to hurt tourism to put pressure on the Israeli government.

The PA is not expected to pay the sum voluntarily, but Israel could potentially deduct the compensation from taxes it collects for the PA.

Of the 59 plaintiffs who first filed the case, 14 have passed away since and were represented in the case by their heirs.

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