Court Rules Terrorist Damages Must Be Paid

YERUSHALAYIM -

A military appeals court ruled on Wednesday that punitive-damages rulings against Palestinian terrorist murderers are unlimited and that the Israeli government must find a mechanism for collecting the money, The Jerusalem Post reported.

The ruling was handed down in the case of Duvdevan commando St.-Sgt. Ronen Lubarsky Hy”d, who was killed in May 2018 during an IDF arrest operation in Ramallah when a marble slab was dropped on his head from a third-storey rooftop.

The convicted murderer, Islam Nagi, was sentenced to life in prison and 1,500,000 shekels in punitive damages.

The Judea Military Court in July 2019 reduced the damages to NIS 258,000.

Wednesday’s decision by Court President Col. Netanel Benishu and Judges Lt.-Col. Ronen Atzmon and Lt.-Col. Yair Tirosh overruled the lower court and reset the penalty at 1.5 million.

Benishu addressed the difficulty of actually collecting such damages, which are rarely paid, as most Palestinians do not have the economic means to pay damages on this scale.

He therefore called on the IDF commander in Yehudah and Shomron, who is also commander for the Home Front, to collaborate with civilian officials in the drafting of legislation to establish tactics and mechanisms for collecting these damages.

In the absence of such a mechanism, Benishu said, that the courts appear inept, as if their rulings are meaningless.