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Israel confiscates $27,000 from PA to compensate settler family

Israeli Shekels [File photo]
Israeli Shekels [File photo]

An Israeli court has ruled that the country’s Ministry of Finance can deduct 100,000 shekels ($27,000) from the Palestinian Authority (PA) to compensate the family of an illegal settler.

The court’s ruling comes after the family of Dalia Lemkus – a settler living in the illegal settlement of Tekoa, part of the Gush Etzion bloc south of Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank – demanded that her alleged attacker, Maher Hashlamoun, pay compensation for Lemkus’ death.

When Lemkus’ family received no response, they filed a lawsuit against the PA for the stipend it paid to Hashlamoun’s family following his imprisonment by Israeli forces, Ma’an reported.

Hashlamoun was sentenced to two life terms in 2015 and ordered to pay Lemkus’ family four million shekels ($1.09 million) in compensation. Hashlamoun’s home in the southern West Bank city of Hebron was also demolished following his conviction.

The court’s ruling is likely to set a precedent for similar confiscations of PA money in the future.

READ: Israel court extends detention of settler accused of attacking Palestinians with axe

The move will likely be seen as ironic given that the families of Palestinians killed by illegal Israeli settlers are never compensated for their loss. On Saturday, Israeli settlers killed 38-year-old Palestinian Hamdi Taleb Na’asan from the village of Al-Mughayer, near Ramallah in the occupied West Bank. Na’asan – a father of four – was killed by live fire from Israeli settlers from the illegal outpost of Adei Ad, who claimed they were conducting a manhunt for the alleged attacker of another Israeli settler who was lightly injured and had run to the outpost for help.

However, Israeli human rights organisation Yesh Din contradicted this account, saying in a statement yesterday that the Adei Ad settlers had initially attacked Palestinian farmers working on land north of Al-Mughayer, puncturing tractor tires and breaking windows, the Jerusalem Post reported. Yesh Din added that Na’asan was shot in the back just ten metres from his house.

Adei Ad was previously home to Amiram Ben-Uriel, the extremist Israeli settler currently under investigation for the arson attack against the Dawabsheh family in the West Bank village of Duma in 2015, which killed 18-month-old baby Ali and left his brother Ahmed orphaned. Although Israel differentiates between settlements and outposts, which do not have official government recognition, both are deemed illegal under international law which prohibits the transfer of civilian populations into occupied territory.

READ: Palestinians protest ‘apartheid road’ in occupied West Bank

Settler attacks against Palestinians have been on the rise in recent months. In December the occupied West Bank saw a spate of settler attacks against Palestinians near Route 60, the main road which runs between Nablus and Ramallah where Adei Ad, Al-Mughayer and Duma are all located. On 13 December scores of Israeli settler youth went to Route 60 to throw stones at passing Palestinian vehicles, forcing them to leave the road in order to avoid further damage or injury. It is thought they did so at the behest of extreme-right-wing Israeli Knesset Member (MK) Bezalel Smotrich who Yesh Din has demanded be investigated for incitement.

That night Palestinian bus driver Nidal Fakih was attacked by two Israelis from the ultra-Orthodox settlement of Modi’in Illit, north of Jerusalem near Budrus. Photos and videos of the incident showed Fakih slumped in his driver’s seat following the attack, bleeding badly and clearly in shock. A few days later, Jerusalem Magistrates’ Court ruled the brutal attack to be “road rage”.

In October, Israeli settlers attacked and killed Palestinian mother Aisha Al-Rabi as she was driving with her husband near Tapuah Junction (Za’atara), south of Nablus on Route 60. The attackers, later revealed to be students at a Jewish seminary located on a nearby illegal settlement, were arrested by Israel’s security agency Shin Bet. Barely a week later, Shin Bet released all but one of the settlers “after it was decided that the investigation could continue while they were under house arrest”. Last week a 16-year-old settler was charged with manslaughter for his role in Al-Rabi’s killing, avoiding the charge of murder which would have seen him face life imprisonment.

READ: Israel army website lists ‘State of Judea and Samaria’, erasing West Bank

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