Border Police
Border Police Sraya Diamant/Flash90

The state attorney's office is challenging the High Court's decision to recognize a soldier injured by a stone thrower during an arrest in eastern Jerusalem as a victim of terror. The office is claiming that this is a "fundamental and cross-cutting issue that may have significant legal repercussions."

About a year ago, during a raid that included arrests in the Silwan neighborhood of the capital, a Border Policeman, who happens to be a minority member residing in the north of the country, received facial wounds when he was attacked by Arab rioters throwing stones and brick tiles at the soldiers.

The fighter was rushed to the hospital with a blood streaming down his face after suffering a deep cut and fractured nasal bone. After the suspect in the case was captured three days later, he was sentenced to four years in prison and compensation to soldier in the amount of ten thousand shekels.

The soldier then filed a civil tort claim through attorney Ofir Steiner of the Honenu civil rights organization, requesting a reduction in court fees according to Section 3A of court regulations, which states that a victim of an act of terror be allowed to pay a reduced legal fee.

Surprisingly, the attorney's office opposed this motion, stating that: "there is no basis for the claim that his actions were racially motivated... there is no basis to determine that this is an act of terrorism." The registrar of the Jerusalem District Court, Pnina Neubert, rejected the position, stating that, "the grounds of the request are sufficient to prove that the acts described amount to an act of terrorism which entitles the plaintiff to a reduced fee."

The story did not end there, however. The prosecutor's office was not satisfied with the decision of the district court and decided to appeal it in an attempt to convince authorities that the incident did not amount to an act of terror. At the beginning of the appeal it is written that "this appeal concerns a fundamental and horizontal issue that may have significant legal ramifications, which go beyond the limits of the scope of the current discussion in this claim..." The appeal further states that "the plaintiff did not lay down a sufficient factual basis...for his claim that the defendant's actions were carried out 'on a nationalist motive', or that it was an act of terrorism or hostility."

The prosecutor's office is insisting that, "the defendant acted out of a desire to harm the security forces. However, there is no basis for the claim that this was an act of hostility. This cannot be determined just because Arabs threw stones at a uniformed policeman. This determination, without a solid factual basis, may have consequences for future cases. Recognizing the case as an act of terrorism may result in numerous other cases that are not viewed as acts of terrorism being recognized as such, and this will have an international impact."

Attorney Steiner responded to these claims: "The state attorney's office decided to file, in an unusual event, an appeal against the decision of a district court registrar regarding a fee in a civil proceeding of a victim of a crime, after a verdict had already been handed down in the proceeding itself, citing 'significant extrajudicial consequences that go beyond the limits of the discussion of this lawsuit.' 'Extrajudicial' means that they do not belong to the legal discussion of the specific case. We regret that they took this approach, which may end up harming the wounded soldier for reasons that do not concern him or the specific incident. We will continue to fighting for the soldier's rights."