Civil Administration sued for damage to flock

Thursday, November 30, 2017, 9:17 In late November 2017, two shepherds, the owner of the flock, a Kochav HaShahar resident, and his partner sued the Civil Administration for major damage caused to their sheep by a sudden evacuation in November 2015. The plaintiffs had requested permission to voluntarily evacuate, so that they could properly transport their flock and several structures, but the Civil Administration refused.

A video clip, see above, shows the ewes being roughly dragged to the truck and loaded by hand, without a ramp, onto the truck which severely injured the sheep and caused great damage to the flock. Video credit: Elchanan Albert.
The shepherds tended their flock, their sole source of income, in Givat HaBaladim, an outpost adjacent to Kochar HaShahar. On the night of November 1, 2015, without prior warning, Civil Administration personnel accompanied by policemen and soldiers dismantled two residential structures and confiscated the flock. Initially the security forces refused to present an order. In the end they presented a closed military zone order from the year 1999, classifying the site as being located in a firing range. The Givat HaBaladim residents who had been living there for three years at the time of incident said that they had never been presented with the order, which was signed almost 17 years previously.
The Civil Administration hired a private company to transport the flock. In addition to the injurious loading of the truck mentioned above, on the truck the ewes were crowded to the point of suffocation. A District Coordination and Liaison Administration officer later reported that two ewes died during transport. A third died shortly thereafter.
In the statement of defense the damage to the flock was described, including evaluations by a veterinarian and an appraiser. Many pregnant ewes miscarried due to the severe overcrowding and overloading of the truck, dozens of lambs were separated from their mothers and therefore not able to nurse, and there were additional injuries to the flock.
The statement of claim included, “The actions of the defendants caused severe trauma to the flock, which drastically reduced its productivity, damaged the development of the sheep and also caused injury to individual sheep in the flock.”
An additional claim for which the two plaintiffs are suing the Civil Administration is the destruction of their tents. The tents are classified as “goods” and therefore required a seizure order of goods for the purpose of their destruction. The Civil Administration did not have such an order because they classified the tents as “movables”.
The sum total of the direct and indirect monetary damage to the flock, according to the evaluation of the appraiser, for which the plaintiffs are demanding compensation, is 78,000 NIS. Honenu Attorney Chayim Bleicher, who is representing the plaintiffs, described the grave injustice committed. In addition to “the illegality of the actions and the legal violations which were carried out by the defendants” the injustice of the situation is inconceivable, both concerning the monetary loss by the plaintiffs and the cruel manner in which the sheep themselves were treated. The plaintiffs, whose sole source of income is herding sheep, had been willing to voluntarily evacuate, if only to prevent injury to the flock.

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