In a blockbuster judgment, the Supreme Court effectively endorsed two verdicts Wednesday in a total of nearly 14 million NIS against the Palestinian Authority for the false imprisonment of 51 Palestinians.
In December 2017, the District Court in Jerusalem issued a judgment of approximately 900,000 NIS for lawyer costs for prosecutors in the case, and in June a judgment of approximately 13.1 million NIS. against PA for false closure.
In the first case of this kind, the Israeli court in July 2017 ruled that 51 Palestinians who tortured the PA for cooperating with Israel could sue jurisdiction for damage.
This 1.860-page verdict, based on dozens of witnesses over the years, was one of the worst years since it involved Palestinian citizens who came to Israeli "occupation" courts to get justice for their abuse by their own PA law enforcement.
PA appealed all District Court decisions to the Supreme Court and requested that the lower court's decisions be frozen until the appeal is resolved.
The denial of Jose Elron's judiciary in PA's appeal means that PA has now, in accordance with Israeli law, now paid 51 Palestinians without delay – although there are still questions about how the plaintiffs can realistically gather.
Hoping to quit the court, PA warned that paying damages and possibly much higher future damage could lead to the failure of PA. (NIS 14 million was only a false imprisonment, and this amount could be faint compared to the damage that the District Court could later release for full responsibility for torture.) PA was hoping that the larger picture would be deterred by the court.
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In addition, the PA said that if the Supreme Court had acknowledged its complaints since it had already paid 51 Palestinians, the return of that money could be almost impossible by so many prosecutors, many of whom were stateless and could "disappear in the wind."
Elron said he recognized the problem and ordered that NIS 14m. by prosecutors' lawyers in trust until the appeal is brought.
Generally speaking, Elron said that PA did not provide concrete evidence to show the alleged economic disastrous impact that the payment of judgments would have on it.
In the earlier stages of the case, the prosecutor was represented by the resident Elon Moreh and lawyer Menachem Kornvich. However, over the past few years, they have been represented by legal partners Barak Kedem, Arieh Arbus, Netanel Rom and David Zurvill, who plan to continue much more damage due to torture.
In a decision of July 2017, the District Court said that the PA authorities tortured various prosecutors by "beaten them all over the body, hitting them with lead pipes, burning cigarettes on their bodies, hanging on them for hours, and starving them for hours."
Some of the prosecutors "were exposed to extreme heat and cold, or extremely hot or cold water was thrown at them," and the authorities ordered doctors to pull healthy teeth instead of having unhealthy teeth.
PA launched a series of defenses before the decision of July 2017. However, at all stages, he denied that his staff committed any kind of torture. In addition, the PA inter alia claimed to have the right to arrest and pressure some detainees who jeopardized the security and vital interests of PA, spying or co-operating with Israel. He also claimed that Israel had no jurisdiction over the Palestinians because they were PA citizens.
In addition, PA stated that international law should be regulated, not by local Israeli law on bodily harm.
Except for the eight prosecutors found by the court were common criminals, the court rejected the PA defense.
Namely, the court said that if the Palestinians cooperate with Israel in order to prevent terrorist attacks against Israelis, PA is also obliged to assist in such efforts under the Oslo Accords. Accordingly, the court said that PA can not treat such Palestinians as criminals, and much less torture.
Furthermore, the court concluded that in some cases the PA arrested the Palestinians in the green line or arrested the Arabs who had Israeli citizenship.
In both cases, the court stated that the PA clearly lacked any powers in accordance with the Oslo Accord.
The case is likely to cause significant diplomatic and legal complications between Israel and PA, in particular whether PA will pay damages.
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