oPt + 1 more

Urgent Action: Israeli Knesset set to vote on law to deny Palestinians compensation

Ref: 86/2005

PCHR has become aware that the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee is set to vote on a significant amendment to Israeli's Civil Wrongs Law next Monday, 25 July 2005. Amendment No. 5 is the latest attempt by Israel to ensure that Palestinians cannot have access to justice and compensation for human rights violations committed by the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF).

Amendment No. 5 has already passed its first reading in the Knesset plenary and is currently being debated before the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee. If this Committee approves the amendment, as it is widely expected to do, in their vote on Monday, 25 July 2005, it will go back to the Knesset plenary for its second and third readings. PCHR has learned that the Knesset plenary could vote as early as next Tuesday or Wednesday (26 or 27 July 2005) and enact Amendment No. 5 into law.

PCHR is deeply concerned by the latest proposed amendment to Israel's Civil Wrongs (Liability of State) Law. If passed by the Knesset the amendments will make it all but impossible for Palestinian residents in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) to seek a remedy for violations of their fundamental human rights at the hands of the IOF. Israel has already severely limited the terms on which a Palestinian can seek compensation (mostly notably under Amendment No. 4 of 2002) and this latest amendment seeks to deny all Palestinians the right even to seek compensation before Israeli courts. Please see PCHR's recent press release which details the proposed amendments and their effect on Palestinians access to justice.

PCHR has been actively involved in lobbying in the Knesset to ensure that this amendment is not enacted. We have appeared before the Knesset Constitution, Law, and Justice Committee to tell how Palestinians will be affected by the amendment and cut off from their rights. PCHR has also conducted advocacy work with our local and international partners to pressure Israel to not pass the amendments. However, with the Knesset set to vote next week, urgent action is needed to express that such amendments are contrary to Israeli's international law obligations under international humanitarian and human rights law.

PCHR urges you to write a letter to Michael Eitan, Chairman of the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee demanding that he prevent passage of Amendment No. 5 to the Civil Wrongs Law: Fax: +972 2 6496404 or meitan@knesset.gov.il.

For more information please call: +972 8 2824776 -- 2825893.*
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