Monday, July 24, 2006

How Isrealis try to claim war damages compensation from Lebanon

The current conflict (as the news channels phrase it - from where I am sitting, it's more like a three-front war) raging in the Middle East, has taken a legal dimension.

Israel blames Lebanon for not complying with the UN resolutions and dismantling Hezbollah, the initiator of all the present violence.
And what is an effective way to make a government pay?
Yep, a lawsuit!

Israeli attorneys Yehudah Talmon, Yoram Danziger, and Nitzah Libai are presenting a symbolic lawsuit to against Lebanese government in a US civil court.
They are suing for compensation to be paid to Israeli businesses and citizens for war damages.
More specifically, the claim states that the Lebanese government is responsible for damages caused to residents of Israel since it didn't prevent Hezbollah from acting from its territory to harm Israeli citizens, thus violating the International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorism.

The legal team of lawyers and accountants include the former Chief Administrator of the Courts and judge, Dan Arbel, Attorneys Yoram Danziger, Nitzah Libay and the office of Ziv Haft Public Accountants.
The team has been swamped with petitions from tens of citizens, most of them business owners, who want to participate in the lawsuit.
There is no fear that they will forfeit other legal options.

Although by law, a civilian who is suing the state for compensation claims is not allowed to sue other bodies, the current claim is a complementary one, intended to recover money to people that the Israeli government will not recover.
The demand for compensation will be for loss of clientele, damage to sales, and damage to manufacturing capability – the things the government does not compensate for.

What are the chances of winning the lawsuit?
Better then it might look at prima facie, since there is a precedent.
A few years ago, a similar claim was submitted in the United States against the Iranian government for damaging property belonging to American citizens.
The prosecutors won.

Thus, Lebanon, as a sovereign state, was violating international law by permitting Hezbollah to hurt Israelis from its land.
The lawyers are confident that once they win, the Lebanese government will recognize the claim and pay the money.
They base this on the fact that the Lebanese government conducts business with the US and maintains property in the United States.

Therefore, it is possible to collect money from Lebanon without its consent.
For sure, this is a lawsuit to watch – who knows, the pen might be mightier than the sword……

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