Jerusalem District Court Judge Moshe Drori ruled that the Palestinian Authority (PA) must pay NIS 13.5 million ($3.7 million) in compensation to Arabs who were tortured by the PA.
"This is the least we can give," Attorney Nati Rom, who represented the victims, told Arutz Sheva following the verdict.
He said that the court ruling only covered the kidnappings carried out by the PA and that his organization, the Rom, Arbus, Kedem, Zur law firm, would continue to sue the PA for hundreds of millions in shekels in damages for the torture inflicted on both Palestinian Authority residents and Israeli Arab citizens.
The plaintiffs in the case were Arabs who were suspected or accused of 'collaborating with Israel' and arrested and tortured by the PA.
In the precedent-setting ruling of the Jerusalem District Court, which was over two thousand pages long, Judge Drori detailed the legal determinations that led him to determine the compensation, describing the torture that the suspected collaborators underwent in the cellars of the Palestinian Authority over the years.
In one case it was determined that the Palestinian Authority was responsible for the murder of one of the detainees, who had a Jewish mother, who was murdered by PA officials in Nablus in 2002. His half brother, a Jew from Kiryat Arba, was also held by the Palestinian Authority and tortured during his detention.
In other cases it was determined that the PA attempted to kidnap some of the suspected collaborators from Israel and return them to torture and detention after they fled. In many cases, the torture and arrests were halted only by the intervention of IDF forces who released the prisoners during Operation Defensive Shield in 2002.
Judge Drori wrote in his decision: "When the PA arrests a suspect - in its opinion - for cooperation with Israel, this means that the detention is on security grounds that are not within the authority of the PA, but only under Israel's authority under the Interim Agreement. As a result, the detention is illegal."
"The detention of the PA on grounds that are not within its jurisdiction, especially when it comes to security grounds, has security implications in itself, because the detention is intended, from the point of view of the Authority, to direct the behavior of its residents against the State of Israel and in support of terror activities. Therefore, even a civil action filed by any of the residents of the PA on the grounds of this detention - including the plaintiffs in the cases before me - carries security implications," the judge stated.
Regarding the torture that the plaintiffs endured, the judge wrote: "I cannot refrain from saying the following: a continuous review of all the evidence, including the detailed affidavits of the plaintiffs, and their presentation in the memory of those witnesses who testified about the torture, some of whom showed me their damaged limbs - these are very difficult things. "Indeed, the court has been exposed in many cases to difficult situations."
"However, in this case, there are dozens of plaintiffs who testify separately to events, with the detailed picture being written in the individual chapters, after which it is necessary to say that this is an accumulation of evidence, which shows that the PA - with all its branches and its mechanisms detailed in exacting detail in the individual chapters - used severe violence, including severe torture, against the plaintiffs," the judge stated.
One of the plaintiffs, Ahmed, relates that during his interrogation he had a daughter who was born prematurely. When the Palestinian Authority discovered this, it ordered that the hospital cease treating the infant. The child did not receive the necessary oxygen and as a result lives with a disability.
The torture Ahmed underwent also included also included the placing of lit cigarettes on his body and slicing his body with razor blades until the interrogators had to put him in the hospital in Jenin.
"In Israel it would not have happened," he told Arutz Sheva. "In Israel, when you are interrogated, you recognize your rights and treat you the way you treat everyone. Why do all Arabs want to work in Israel? Why do everyone want to celebrate here in Israel? Because we know that here is better."
"In the Palestinian Authority it is enough that someone wants to settle an account with you. He tells everyone that you are cooperating and then they take everything, including your land," Ahmed said.