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No compensation for Palestinian towns in Israel after May 2021 protests damage

Jerusalem24 – Haaretz – Palestinian towns within Israel have been refused compensation for damage incurred during the May 2021 protests, whereas mixed Palestinian-Jewish towns have already received several million shekels in compensation, according to a report by Israeli daily Haaretz.

The events of May 2021 saw Palestinian citizens of Israel rise up and protest alongside Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem during Israel’s attack on Gaza, and as the looming eviction of Palestinian families in Sheikh Jarrah made international headlines.

This was dubbed the Unity Intifada by Palestinians, as it marked the first time Palestinians with Israeli citizenship had risen to protest their own conditions within Israel alongside Palestinians under occupation.

Human Rights Watch accused Israeli law enforcement agencies of using excessive force to disperse protests by Palestinians in Lydd during the unrest, while reacting half-heartedly and unevenly to violence against Palestinian citizens of Israel committed by Jewish ultra-nationalists.

Severe damage to both private and public property was incurred in several towns in Israel, notably towns with a fully Palestinian population as well as mixed Palestinian-Jewish towns.

After Israel’s war on Gaza ended, local authorities asked the Israeli Tax Authority for compensation for the damage caused to public buildings and municipal property, in accordance with the property tax law and a compensation fund available for damage deriving from the so-called Israeli-Palestinian “conflict.”

According to Haaretz, the Israeli Tax Authority agreed to requests submitted by the municipalities of the mixed Jewish-Palestinian cities of Lydd, Ramla and Akka, allocating NIS 3.8 million to Akka, and an advance of NIS 300,000 to Ramla with an additional NIS 900,000 already pledged. Lydd is still negotiating with the Tax Authority over the amount of compensation.

The Palestinian municipalities of Umm al-Fahm, Rahat, Tira, Nahaf, Rayna and Deir Hanna, however, were all refused compensation on the grounds that their claims had “nothing to do with the conflict,” according to Haaretz.

Umm al-Fahm appealed the decision, and requested the Tax Authority provide data on the amount of compensation received by Palestinian, Jewish and mixed local authorities after the May 2021 unrest. The Tax Authority refused the data request on the grounds the data was confidential.

The Tax Authority told Haaretz that claims are rejected when “conditions are not deemed to be met,” and that the claimants had the right to file an appeal.

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