The Israeli occupation army is being sued for exposing residents of a kibbutz to high levels of radiation in a lawsuit that serves to highlight the Zionist state’s discrimination against Palestinians. Farmers in the northern Negev who are said to have been unknowingly exposed to very strong radiation for six years and had their livelihood disrupted, are seeking approximately $1.3 million in compensation.
The lawsuit states that the Israeli army installed the Iron Dome system, funded by the US government, on fields belonging to an unnamed kibbutz in 2012 without informing residents of the danger it posed to their health. Five years later, reported Ynet News, they were told that they could not approach the fields near the area, a site at which they had worked freely until then, due to the very strong radiation that the system emits.
“The defendant [Israeli army] only recently remembered to update the kibbutz about the very strong radiation the systems emits, and that it is therefore strictly forbidden to engage in any agriculture work in the surrounding area,” the lawsuit states. “It will become clear that danger of radiation in the field was unknown until the defendant’s notice.”
It’s also claimed that the farmers were never compensated for damage to their territory and from being barred from cultivating in the area in which the system was installed. The Defence Ministry is thought to have promised compensation for such damage, which the lawsuit claims has yet to be paid eight years later.
Highlighting the damage to the land, the lawsuit states that, “As of 2012, the defendant took over an area of approximately 10 dunams [2.5 acres] for the purpose of installing missile defence systems to protect from ballistics coming from the Gaza Strip.”
The Israeli army and Defence Ministry told Ynet that, “The lawsuit has not yet been received by the defence establishment. When it is, it will be examined and answered as usual in court.”
Concerns over the Iron Dome were raised last year. Around 30 Israeli soldiers, the majority of whom operated the system, were said to be battling cancer.
For Palestinian farmers, this case will further highlight the structural racism under which they have suffered for decades. The theft of their land in order to build Jewish settler-only roads and illegal settlements, for example, is carried out without any compensation or recourse to any form of legal redress.