Landmark court decision opens way for claims against Palestinian Authority

Israeli man twice kidnapped and tortured by PA security forces wins the right to sue for damages; terror victims may follow suit

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

The Jerusalem District Court (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
The Jerusalem District Court (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

In a landmark decision, the Jerusalem District Court ruled on Sunday that an Israeli Arab man has the right to sue the Palestinian Authority for damages he suffered after being kidnapped and tortured, Israel Radio reported.

The case, which has taken 10 years to make its way through the legal system, may open the way for dozens of victims of Palestinian terror who in the past tried unsuccessfully to sue the PA for compensation, but were told they couldn’t sue an independent entity in the Israeli courts.

The man, now aged 63, was kidnapped and questioned twice by the PA preventative security force, then under the control of Jibril Rajoub, on suspicion of being an informant for Israel. The incidents began 13 years ago. The first time the man was grabbed near Hebron in Area C, which is under full Israeli control, and on the second occasion he was kidnapped from the entrance to a school in East Jerusalem where he taught. On both occasions he was tortured during his questioning. In one incident his captors pretended to execute him by firing a gun next to his head.

Although the Israel Radio report didn’t give details of his injuries, following his release the man was considered to be 90 percent disabled. He then tried to sue the Palestinian Authority and Jabril Rajoub for NIS 10 million.

Judge Moshe Drori, September, 2001. (photo credit: Flash90)
Judge Moshe Drori, September 2001. (photo credit: Flash90)

At the time the Palestinian Authority responded that as a state entity it cannot be sued through an Israeli court and the case should be brought to the Palestinian courts instead.

Judge Moshe Drori rejected the claims and ruled that the Palestinian Authority and Jabril Rajoub are responsible for the man’s suffering and injuries.

The court will now deliberate on the amount of compensation that should be paid to the man. However, how he will be able to extract any monetary compensation from the PA is unclear.

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