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2009 | Abu Sneina vs State of Israel

In the case of Abu Sneina vs State of Israel, the claimants sought compensation for damages done to their several houses during ten days when they were forcefully evicted by Israeli soldiers who stationed themselves there in a guarding capacity. This summary by advocate Jossi Wolfson gives an account of the alleged facts in the claim and an analysis of the Judge’s conclusion. The judge found for the defendants, having concluded that the testimonies of the plaintiffs were not credible and indeed warranted the imposition of exemplary damages against them for having brought a claim ‘with the clear intention of receiving funds that they do not deserve’.

The Judges arguments hung principally on three points: (i) that any acts causing damage were done in the context of military activity/’combatant action’, (ii) that it was implausible, under those conditions of confinement together, that some soldiers could have been stealing without others knowing about it, and (iii) that the plaintiffs testimonies contained inconsistencies. The context of combatant activity was to be confirmed not by ascertaining the level of immediate danger to the lives of the soldiers but with reference to the general context: ‘a period full of terror in Israel. Hundreds of innocent and guiltless people were killed in murderous terror actions’ and adding ‘the war against terror is a war in every aspect, and an action intended to fight terror may be a "Combatant Action".

This analysis by Jossi Wolfson compares the testimonies of both sides and reflects on the judge’s assessment of both.