Demanding National Insurance Institute (NII) to Transfer Disability Payments to 500 Beneficiaries from Gaza, after their Cancellation at the Beginning of 2009

HCJ 6820/09 Fadl Abu al-Qumsan et al. v. The Bank of Israel, et al.

In recent weeks the Israeli National Insurance Institute (NII) has begun to transfer disability payments to 500 beneficiaries from Gaza, after their cancellation at the beginning of 2009. The NII stopped providing benefits to the workers following a decision by the Bank of Israel to stop business with a group of Palestinian banks in Gaza after the Israeli government declared the Gaza Strip a “hostile territory.”

The NII's decision to resume transferring the benefits was in response to a Supreme Court petition submitted to the Supreme Court by Adalah Attorney Sawsan Zaher on behalf of Al Mezan Center for Human Rights in Gaza, Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, Sawt el-Amel (The Laborer's Voice), and Kav LaOved (Worker's Hotline) and six of the injured workers on 27 August 2009.

The NII committed before the Supreme Court that it would from now on allocate a monthly sum to those eligible for the payments through the Palestinian Monetary Authority, which deposit the payments into bank accounts in banks in the West Bank, opened specifically for this purpose on behalf of the eligible beneficiaries. On the basis that the issue had been resolved, the NII requested that the Supreme Court dismiss the petition. The petitioners requested that the petition be left pending until a final decision is delivered on the petition. The court dismissed the petition but reserved the right of the beneficiaries to revert the court if the problems continued. Adalah learned of this development on 24 November 2010.

Adalah Attorney Sawsan Zaher emphasized in the petition that following their injuries, the workers submitted requests to the National Insurance Institute (NII) for the receipt of disability payments. Under the National Insurance Act of 1995, the file of each worker was transferred to an internal medical committee, which certified his disability and entitlement to the allowance. NII payments have been made by Israel to these workers for many years. In cases in which the NII confirms the eligibility of a person to receive disability allowances, it becomes obliged under law to transfer the payments on a monthly basis; failure to do so constitutes a breach of the law.

AL Mezan field researcher Samir Zaqut stated that, despite the announcement made by the NII, the issue had been resolved, as problems remain to be dealt with. Although some of those injured workers received the insurance benefits other have not, although they are also eligible. Some of the beneficiaries are only receiving half their previous salaries. In addition, the NII has not provided additional relevant benefits such as medical costs and medical equipment which had been provided to them in the past. Furthermore, The NII has not covered the benefits of retirees and the dependent of workers eligible for the payments, despite the fact that their spouses and children are alive.

Case citation: HCJ 6820/09, Fadl Abu al-Qumsan et al. v. The Bank of Israel, et al.