UCL Faculty of Laws


Mapping civilian harm claims against Israel and the Palestinian Authority

19 July 2023, 10:00 am–12:00 pm

Database Launch event

Launching our Interactive Database

Event Information

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About the event:

This interactive map presents over 470 Israeli court cases in which civilians sought compensation under tort law for loss of life, bodily injury, and property damage inflicted during armed activities. The vast majority of cases involve Palestinian civilians who were injured by Israeli security forces in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. However, the database includes claims of other nationals, as well as cases in which Israeli civilians sought compensation against Hamas and the Palestinian Authority for losses incurred during hostilities.

In the context of reparation for losses civilians sustain during armed conflict and occupation, Israel offers a unique perspective. The number of cases in which Israeli courts examine the question of state liability in tort law for losses the Israeli military is alleged to have inflicted exceeds the combined cases of Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States. The Israeli cases offer a unique insight into legal institutional approaches to urban warfare and counter-terrorism, as well as to attitudes towards prolonged conflict over time.

Between 1988 and 2014, Israel paid approximately USD 94 million in compensation for losses inflicted by its security forces on the Palestinian population in the West Bank and Gaza. However, since 2004, and progressively since, the right to a remedy has been severely constrained through a number of factors including: broadening the definition of the ‘combatant activities exception’ in the law of tort; the designation of Gaza as enemy territory and its residents as citizens of an enemy state; and the combined effect of procedural obstacles, high court fees and securities, and denial of entry permits limiting access to court. As a result, while Jewish Israeli citizens who are residents of the Occupied Palestinian Territories are able to successfully claim compensation for losses they sustain from the operations of Israel’s security forces, the corresponding right to compensation of non-Jewish residents is almost purely theoretical.  

The launch was held on July 19, 2023, at UCL Faculty of Laws (Bentham House). Speakers included: Advocate Sawsen Zaher, Journalist Amira Hass, and Dr Seth Anizska.

This project is a collaboration between Dr Haim Abraham (UCL Faculty of Laws), Prof. Gilat Bachar (Temple University Beasley School of Law), and Ceasefire Centre for Civilian Rights. We were assisted by Mr Matan Flum (UCL, Bartlett Development Planning Unit).

The database has been made possible through the generous funding from:
UCL Laws, UCL Public Policy, UCL’s Private Law Group, UKRI Research England, and the University of Haifa Minerva Center for the Rule of Law Under Extreme Conditions. 

The programme

10:00 – Opening remarks, Prof. Eloise Scotford, Dean, UCL Laws
10:05 – Presentation of website and project, Dr Haim Abraham, Prof. Gilat Bachar (including q&a).
10:45 – Panel on Contextualizing Compensation Claims:
Speakers include:

  1. Advocate Sawsen Zaher – Currently the head of the Human Rights Clinic at Tel Aviv University. Previously Deputy General Director of Adalah, the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights, where she acted for Palestinian Plaintiffs who filed claims in tort against Israel.
  2. Amira Hass - Haaretz Correspondent for the Occupied Territories.
  3. Dr Seth Anziska – UCL Associate Professor of Jewish-Muslim Relations.

Moderators Mr Mark Lattimer and Ms Yomn Al-Kaisi, Ceasefire Centre for Civilian Rights

12:00-13:00 – Reception.


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