Following Hamas’ seizure of control over the Gaza Strip in June 2007, the Gaza strip was declared an “enemy territory” against which a number of civilian-economic sanctions were imposed (decision B/34 of 19 September 2007). The current declaration, in effect as of July 7 2014, gives an additional legal expression to the above status of the Gaza Strip by declaring the Gaza Strip an "Enemy Territory" for the purpose of section 5B(a)(1) of the Civil Wrongs Law. The declaration excludes Israel’s civil liability for damages caused to a resident of an enemy territory (unless lawfully present in Israel) and thus constitutes a further deterioration for Gaza Strip residents’ rights to reparations for damages caused by the state of Israel.
Tort claims by Gaza Strip residents were already generally being denied, as section 5 of the Civil Wrongs Law provides that the state of Israel is not civilly liable for an act performed during ‘wartime action’ by its forces. However, the mere processing of civil suits and the repeated need to prove that the impugned acts took place in the context of wartime action were costly in terms of time and money for the Israeli state attorney’s office. The 2014 law eliminates this problem: now Israel is simply not civilly liable for damages caused to Gaza Strip residents whether or not the harm was done in the context of wartime action.