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Energix lawsuit against Al-Marsad (re windfarm project, Golan Heights)

Snapshot

On 18 June 2019, the Arab Human Rights Centre in Golan Heights (“Al-Marsad”), was notified that Energix Renewable Energies (“Energix”) filed a suit alleging that the organization had violated Israel’s defamation law and the anti-boycott law. The lawsuit came after Al-Marsad published a final report on its investigation into Energix’s development of an energy project on agricultural land of the occupied Golan that is still controlled by native Syrians. The case is ongoing.

Factual background

In September 2018, Al-Marsad began an investigation related to an energy project developed by Energix which would be on almost a quarter of the agricultural land on the less than five percent of the occupied Golan that is still controlled by native Syrians. The final report was published in January 2019. The investigation revealed that Energix’s project violates the indigenous Syrian community’s right to self-determination which includes the right of the Syrian community to exercise sovereignty over its natural resources. Al-Marsad also facilitated informational meetings to educate indigenous Syrians about the impacts that the project may have on their human rights that led to a petition against Energix’s project signed by over 5 500 people.

A smear campaign to defame and demoralise Al-Marsad and its staff started after the publication of the report. Energix filed a legal complaint against the organization which was notified on 18 June 2019. The company argues that Al-Marsad violated Israel’s defamation law and the anti-boycott law. The complaint accuses Al-Marsad of engaging in “slander” by saying in its report, that Energix violates international law, and characterizes Al-Marsad’ activities as supporting the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement in coalition with “anti-Zionists.” The lawsuit includes claims for 900,000 ILS (220 000 EUR approx.), retraction, and an apology for all the publications related to the project.

Legal argument

On 18 June 2019, Al-Marsad was notified that Energix filed suit against the organization alleging the violation of Israel’s defamation and anti-boycott laws.

Al-Marsad argues that there is no violation of the defamation law or the anti-boycott law and requests the dismissal of the complaint since the lawsuit aims to stop their human rights’ work.

Legal proceeding

On 18 June 2019, Al-Marsad was notified that Energix filed a suit against the organization.

On 1 October 2019, Al-Marsad submitted its response denying the violation of the Anti-Defamation Act of 1965 and the Anti-Boycott Act of 2011. The response requests the dismissal of the lawsuit.

In February 2020, an initial hearing took place before the Nazareth Magistrate’s Court. Al-Marsad rejected a possible settlement with the company.

Subsequent hearings have been postponed due to Covid-19 restrictions and due to Israeli holidays.

News items

Palestine- Energix Exploiting COVID-19 Lockdown in Occupied Golan, MENAFN - Palestine News Network, 25 Apr 2020

Al-Marsad Submits Response to Energix Lawsuit, Al-Marsad, 1 Oct 2019

Al-Marsad Appeals to UN Experts to Protect Human Rights in the Occupied Syrian Golan, Al-Haq, 10 Sep 2019

Appeal for Urgent Action: Syrian Villages and Farms in Occupied Syrian Golan Under Threat While Local Human Rights Organization Targeted, Al-Marsad, 9 Sep 2019

Appeal to UN experts: Protect human rights in the Golan, SOMO, 9 Sep 2019

Amid new threats against project opponents, Energix continues to develop its illegal windfarm in the Occupied Golan, Al-Marsad

Energix

Company response to allegations re windfarms project, 13 May 2020