Child killed, money paid, no person responsible
Abir Aramin was killed in 2007 from a rubber bullet fired by Border Guard officer during dispersion of violent riot in east Jerusalem, now court rules that State must compensate her family
Aviad Glickman, Ynet News
Over a year after it determined that the State was responsible for the death of Palestinian girl Abir Aramin, the Jerusalem District Court, presided by Judge Orit Efal-Gabai, ruled that the state must pay NIS 1.6 million ($430,000) in compensation to the family of Abir Aramin, a Palestinian girl from east Jerusalem who was killed in 2007 from a rubber bullet fired by a Border Guard officer.
The judge said that there was no dispute over the fact that the 10-year-old’s death was due to negligence or that the bullet was fired in violation of orders.
“We are happy that justice has come to light and are still working to award the family compensation for all the suffering it has gone through,” the family’s attorney Lea Tsemel told ynet.
According to Tsemel, “The father is a peace activist whose attitude has not changed since the incident. that is one positive aspect of this story. The whole thing brings color back into the cheeks of anyone who is trying to make the judicial mechanism establish justice for the victims of the police and military.”
In her ruling the judge said that the State must pay NIS 10,000 (about $2,700) for burial expenses and NIS 674,000 (about $182,000) for “lost years”. The judge also ruled that the State would compensate the family to the tune of NIS 900,000 (about $243,000) for the way Aramin was killed, her young age, the circumstances surrounding the case and the customary sum of compensation awarded in similar cases.
Abir was killed in January 2007 near her school in the village of Anta north of Jerusalem, where Border Guard forces were dispersing a violent riot.
Police adamantly claimed that according to the autopsy, the child was killed from a stone – but a week after the incident, her family, with the help of the B’Tselem organization, published a pathologist’s report stating she was hit by a rubber bullet.
In July of this year the High Court rejected a petition demanding that the two Border Guard officers involved in the incident be brought to trial.
Yet at the same time the court also expressed harsh criticism against the police and the State Prosecutor’s Office’s handling of the case and called the investigation “negligent and lacking”. The High court also ruled that the State and the officers must pay NIS 10,000 in costs.
Israel ordered to pay $400,000 to Aramin family for girl’s murder
How much is a ten year-old Palestinian girl worth? If you’re the Israeli government or police, nothing. If you’re Bassam Aramin, her father, her worth is beyond measure. If you’re an Israeli court, you might, Solomon-like, split the baby and the difference, as the Jerusalem District Court did when it awarded Aramin over $400,000 over the negligent death of his precious daughter, Abir, at the hands of a Border Policeman.
So far so decent. But the crime here, aside from the original killing of this girl, was that the very same court, after finding that she was killed in an act of negligence and by a police officer who fired in violation of proper procedures, refused to hold the killer liable for his act. This is a legal system which refuses to hold specific Israeli policemen and soldiers accountable for their actions. It finds Palestinian life so cheap that it’s far more convenient to deal with death through financial compensation rather than personal culpability.
This is totally unacceptable. If there is ever to be peace between Israelis and Palestinians, the former must not be allowed to say that we can bargain away our crimes with a payment, rather than a personal punishment.
You cannot put a value on the life of a little girl, especially when an Israeli policeman with a gun kills her so brutally. It is almost an insult that the Court has done so, especially in light of its refusal to hold the killer accountable. He has likely gone right back to his former job and either will kill again, or at the very least continue abusing Palestinians, as is the habit of the Israeli Border Police, true thuggish enforcers of Israeli power.
To contribute to a beautiful memorial to Abir, founded by Bassam’s colleagues at Combatants for Peace, donate here (http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/abirs-garden-a-playground-for-siir-girls-school/ to Abir’s Garden.