The Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court on Thursday rejected the lawsuit for damages submitted by Badia Aldawich, an Arab living in the Hebron area, who claimed that he had suffered mental damage due to the arrival of an IDF force at his home, in order to carry out a “warning call,” Makor Rishon reported on Friday.
The court accepted the state’s position in the case.
In August 2017, information was received by security officials regarding a demonstration and mass prayer that was going to take place in the area of Kfar Hursa in the southern Hebron Mountain. The protest was against a plan to establish an IDF position there.
On the evening before the rally, a group of soldiers arrived at Aldawich’s home, together with the force commander, Major A.H., for a “warning call” against Aldawich’s participating in the protests.
In September of 2017, Aldawich sued the State of Israel and the IDF over that conversation. The lawsuit alleged that the military violated its duty of exercising care by conducting the warning call near the plaintiff’s home. Also, the force commander touched his arm during the conversation, instead of talking to him by phone or summoning him to the police station.
About two weeks ago, the court ruled that “the plaintiff did not meet the burden necessary to prove negligence,” which is why “the response of the defendant (the State) is acceptable to us. The ‘warning call’ at the plaintiff’s home was made following the plaintiff’s social importance.”
The court noted that even though the plaintiff claimed that he “did not organize, was not important, and did not lead the protest or spoke there,” his wife did testify that “her husband organizes demonstrations and also confirmed that her husband used Facebook and the Internet to call on people to come to the demonstration.”
The court cited the plaintiff’s statement that he is “one of the main human rights activists and community leaders in Hebron and a symbol of the non-violent struggle against the occupation,” and concluded that therefore the call of such an influential person on the public to attend the demonstration was not meaningless.
The court also noted that a previous demonstration in which the plaintiff participated “ended violently and four people were arrested, including the plaintiff.”
The court agreed that “the social cost involved in the IDF arriving at the plaintiff’s home in the evening should not be underestimated,” but concluded that “the public interest in maintaining the security of the area, as well as public order by the military commander, supersedes.”
Senior arbitrator Aharon Orenstein ruled that Aldawich failed to prove that the force commander’s conduct was negligent. “If the plaintiff felt humiliated and uncomfortable when the soldiers arrived at his family home at night,” Orenstein said, “then the humiliation and unpleasantness would have increased had the conversation taken place in the presence of his family members. Therefore Major A.H. Was not negligent in having the conversation outside the building, separate from the plaintiff’s family members who remained upstairs. Moreover, this was done to preserve the dignity and privacy of the plaintiff.”