The Israeli Knesset is working on a bill to grant more immunity to Israeli soldiers as the number of Palestinian lawsuits against the Israeli army hits a record high.
The bill –an amendment to the 1952 Civil Wrongs (Liability of the State) Law– says Israel is not civilly responsible for damages incurred during a military operation launched in a situation of war, providing a broader defense for soldiers’ actions in military operations.
Under the current law, soldiers must prove that their lives were in danger for their actions to be considered a military operation. But the new proposal calls for removal of the obligation on all Israeli soldiers in the West Bank and foreign countries since it assumes that the lives of soldiers operating outside Israel are inherently in danger, the Israeli publication, The Jerusalem Post, reported.
Another provision of the amendment allows the Israeli army to declare an area "hostile territory" whenever it likes, which absolves Tel Aviv of liability for damages sustained by residents of that area. Thus, whenever – and for as long as – a certain area of the West Bank, or the entire West Bank, is declared a "hostile territory", Palestinians do not have the right to sue the Israeli army for the incidents that occurred.
The bill also deems Gaza, where thousands of Palestinians were killed and injured during a recent Israeli military offensive, a hostile area. Following the three-week war, hundreds of lawsuits were filled against misconduct of the Israeli troops.
The bill aims to decrease the number of Palestinian lawsuits against Israel. Palestinians have reportedly filed over 500 lawsuits against Israeli soldiers since 2000.