This British mandatory-era law is still in use. It places a total ban on all forms of trade with enemy nationals. The law authorizes the Interior Minister to declare states as enemy states. Thus far, all enemy states all of are Arab and/or Muslim states. As a result, the law restricts relations, including cultural and linguistic relations between the Arab Palestinians in Israel and the wider Arab and Muslim nations.
For example, the law has been used to ban the import of books in the Arabic language published and/or printed in Lebanon and Syria, and to prevent Arab author Ala Hlehel to travel to Lebanon to receive the prestigious literary prize Beirut 39. In both cases Adalah submitted petitions to the Supreme Court and won.
Defense Regulations (Times of Emergency), Regulation 125 (Closed Zones)
Land and Planning Rights
Authorizes a military commander to declare any region of the state closed, thereby barring anyone from entering it. In practice, the regulations allowed the uprooting of Palestinian villages and prevented and continues to prevent the residents of the Palestinian uprooted villages from 1948 from returning to their land.
Designates the official holidays of the State, all of which are Jewish holy days: Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, two days of Sukkot, two days of Passover, and Shavuot. The only other official state holiday is Israel’s Independence Day.
Adopts the flag of the First Zionist Congress and the Zionist Movement, a combination of a prayer shawl and the Shield of David, as the official flag of Israel. The emblem of the State of Israel is a candelabrum, one of the symbols of the Temple era in Jewish history. The law was amended in 1997 to include Article 2A(a), which requires all public buildings to raise the flag of Israel.
Defines persons who were expelled, fled, or who left the country after 29 November 1947, mainly due to the war, as well as their movable and immovable property (mainly land, houses and bank accounts etc.), as absentee.
Property belonging to absentees was placed under the control of the State of Israel with the Custodian for Absentees’ Property. The Absentees’ Property Law was the main legal instrument used by Israel to take possession of the land belonging to the internal and external Palestinian refugees, and Muslim Waqf properties across the state.
Allows every Jewish person to immigrate to Israel and automatically become a citizen of the state. The law also applies to the children and grandchildren of Jews, as well as their spouses and the spouses of their children and grandchildren. No comparable law exists to guarantee the rights of Palestinians to immigrate or receive citizenship, even if they were born in the area that is now the State of Israel.
Article 2(a) of the Citizenship Law stipulates that, Every emigrant under the Law of Return will become a citizen of Israel as a direct result of the return.
Article 3 of the law also deprives Palestinians who were residents of Palestine prior to 1948 of the right to gain citizenship or residence status in Israel based on conditions designed to deprive the Palestinian refugees of the Right to Return.
Amendment No. 9 (Authority for Revoking Citizenship) (2008) to Article 11 of the Citizenship Law revokes citizenship due to breach of trust or disloyalty to the state. Breach of trust is broadly defined and even includes the act of naturalization or obtaining permanent residency status in one of nine Arab and Muslim states which are listed by the law, and the Gaza Strip. The admendment allows for the revocation of citizenship without requiring a criminal conviction.
This law governs the entry into Israel of non-citizens of the state. It grants preferential treatment to Oleh [a Jewish person who immigrates to Israel under the Law of Return] and affords them status to enter as though they were citizens of the state.
World Zionist Organization-Jewish Agency (Status) Law
Culture and Language
Authorizes the World Zionist Organization, the Jewish Agency, and other Zionist bodies founded at the turn of the 20th century to function in Israel as quasi-governmental entities in order to further advance the goals of the Zionist movement.
Today, approximately 93%of the land in Israel (excluding the OPT) is owned by the state and the JNF. Only 3-3.5% are owned by the Arab population, as compared to 48% in 1948.
The massive transfer of land located within the borders of the state on the eve of the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948 was executed through two primary laws, the Land Acquisition Law (Actions and Compensation) and the Absentees' Property Law (1950).
Through the Land and Acquisition Law (Actions and Compensation), 1.2-1.3 million dunams of land were expropriated from the Arab population. These lands were confiscated from a total of 349 towns and villages, in addition to the built-up areas of about 68 villages, whose precise area was not included in the expropriation orders.
The law establishes separate, independent systems—state secular and state religious schools—to satisfy the distinct needs of the Jewish community. It codifies the objectives of the educational system, which serve to advance Jewish culture and Zionist ideology.
While Article 2(11), an amendment added to the law in 2000, lists one of the objectives of public education To acknowledge the language, culture, history, heritage and unique traditions of the Arab populations, and of other groups, in the State of Israel, and to recognize the equal rights of all citizens in Israel, this weak language of acknowledgement falls short of mandating the incorporation of this objective into the curriculum and also diminishes the status of Arabic, an official state language.
Bestows on the Jewish National Fund (JNF or Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael)—a Zionist organization that was established in 1901 to collect funds for the purpose of purchasing land for the exclusive benefit of the Jewish people—governmental authorities, and provides financial advantages, including tax relief, in purchasing land.
An amendment from 1985 added Section 7(A) to the Basic Law: The Knesset, which provides that, A list of candidates shall not participate in the elections for the Knesset if its aims or actions, expressly or by implication, point to one of the following: (1) denial of the existence of the State of Israel as the state of the Jewish people: (2) denial of the democratic nature of the state; and (3) incitement to racism. Amendments in 2002 changed Section 7(A)(1) to read as, denial of the existence of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state and added Section 7(A)(3), support for armed struggle by a hostile state or a terrorist organization against the State of Israel. as an additional basis for disqualifying candidates and candidates’ lists. This law is used to seek to disqualify Arab candidates and political party lists from running in Knesset elections.
Amendment No. 39 (Candidate who Visited a Hostile State Illegally) (2008) to Article 7A (a1) of The Basic Law: The Knesset denies the right to stand as a candidate for election to the Knesset to any individual who visited Arab and/or Muslim states defined as enemy states—such as Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Iran—without prior permission from the Interior Minister. The law was enacted to deter Arab members of Knesset from travelling to so-called enemy states. Amendement 9 enacted 07.08.1985, Amendement 35 enacted 22.05.2002, Amendement 39 enacted 09.07.2008.
Establishes the Israel Land Administration (ILA). According to the law the government nominates members to the Israel Land Administration Council that, inter alia, determines the land policy in the state. The law allocates half of the council’s seats to the government, and the other half to the JNF, thereby granting this discriminatory body a substantial role in formulating Israel’s land policies.
Stipulates that the ownership of Israel lands—namely land under the control of the state, the JNF, and the Development Authority—cannot be transferred in any manner. However, the law allows transfer of land ownership between these three entities, knowing that the JNF seeks to lease land that it owns to Jews only.
The Broadcasting Authority's mandate includes broadcasting programs to reinforce the Zionist identity of the state of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state and that Reflects the life and cultural assets of all tribes of the people from the different countries and Reflecting the life of the Jews in the Diaspora communities. In terms of the Arabic language, one function of the authority is maintaining broadcasts in the Arabic language for the needs of the Arabic-speaking population and broadcasts for promoting understanding and peace with the neighboring states in accordance with the basic goals of the state.
The National Planning and Building Law, which established the National Council for Planning and Construction and the District Committees for Planning and Construction does not require that Council and District Committees include Arab-Palestinian representatives. It does require that other groups, such as women and the Yishuv institutions, be included following the recommendation of the Jewish Agency.
National Planning and Building Law -Limitation of Water, Electricity and Telephone
Land and Planning Rights
Article 157A prohibits national utility companies from connecting a building to national electricity, water, and telephone networks if it lacks a building permit issued by a local authority. Although neutral on its face, in practice Article 157A has been used almost exclusively to dislodge residents from the unrecognized Arab Bedouin villages in the Naqab (Negev).
Empowers the Ministry of Religious Affairs to designate the names of the holy sites in Israel. To date, the Ministry of Religious Affairs has declared 135 Jewish sites as holy sites and has not declared any Muslim, Christian, or Druze holy places as recognized holy sites.
In 2004, Adalah filed a petition against the Minister of Religious Affairs, the Prime Minister and the Minister of Justice, demanding the Minister of Religious Affairs to make regulations to maintain the Muslim holy places in Israel, as the Minister has done with the Jewish holy places. The court dismissed the petition, but the state then committed to allocating funds to maintain Muslim holy sites.
Law of Yad Yitzhak Ben-Zvi (1969) and Law of Mikve Israel Agricultural School (1976)
Culture and Language
Give statutory recognition to cultural and educational institutions, and define their aims, inter alia, as developing and fulfilling Zionist goals to promote Jewish culture and education at the expense of minority goals.
Authorizes the Ministry of Religious Affairs to establish religious councils in Jewish towns, cities, and settlements. Funded by state and local governing bodies, these religious councils serve the local population in all religious matters, such as maintaining religious institutions, cemeteries and graves in each locality. There is no parallel law to authorize the establishment of non-Jewish religious councils of this kind.
Article 1 stipulates that when the court cannot find answers to legal questions within existing legal sources, Israeli courts will reach a decision in the light of the principles of freedom, justice, equity, and peace of Israel's heritage, thereby granting Jewish law (Halakha) official status within the Israeli legal system.
After the war of 1967 the Israeli government decided to annex approximately 70,500 dunams of the occupied territory to the north, east and south of Jerusalem (now known as East Jerusalem). The state exercised the decision through the addition of Article 11b to the Administration and Law Ordinance, which authorizes the government of Israel to apply Israeli law in all areas that were within mandatory Palestine.
In 1980, the Knesset passed Basic Law: Jerusalem, Capital of Israel, which states in Article 1 that Jerusalem, complete and united, is the capital of Israel. In 2000, the Basic Law was amended in order to provide a legal and constitutional defense for the application of Israeli law in East Jerusalem and to also limit the ability to change the city’s area and jurisdiction.
An amendment to the law, introduced in 2005 expanded the powers of the ILA agencies to operate through administrative orders in order to evacuate in accordance with the law. The 2005 amendment was aimed primarily to be used against the Arab Bedouin population of Naqab (Negev).
Article 24 provides that the Hebrew versions of laws will be the guiding versions of law. This provision disregards Article 82 of the Palestine Order-in-Council (1922), which establishes both Hebrew and Arabic as official state languages.
Stipulates the Second Authority for Television and Radio, which controls Channel 2 Television and other services, will act to promote creativity in the Hebrew language, and give expression to the Jewish heritage and the values of Judaism and Zionism.
The authority will broadcast in the Arabic language for the needs of the Arabic-speaking population and for promoting understanding and peace with the neighboring states in accordance with the basic goals of the state, which include the preservation of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state.
Previously Emergency Orders (derived from) The Law and Administration Ordinance – 1948.
A state of emergency can be declared to exist in the state under Section 9 (Emergency regulations) subsection (a) of this ordinance, which also empowers any minister to make emergency regulations in the interests of state security. Section 9 was deleted when Basic Law: The Government came into affect. The Basic Law gave the power of declaring a state of emergency to the Knesset and in certain situations, to the government. It also empowered the Prime Minister to make emergency regulations in the interests of state security.
The dtate has enacted dozens of laws and orders the applicability of which are anchored in the ongoing state of emergency, declared by the Knesset in 1948 and maintained continuously ever since. The permanent state of emergency has been used to derogate from basic rights that are protected under international human rights law. Some legislative examples dependent upon this continued state of emergency are:
- The Emergency Powers (Detentions) Law - 1979 grants the state the power to detain individuals in administrative detention for indefinitely extendable six-month periods.
- The Prevention of Terrorism Ordinance – 1948 enumerates a number of criminal offences including membership in a terrorist organization and supporting a terrorist organization. The Ordinance contains a number of broad definitions of terrorism, and is often used against Palestinian political leaders who voice strong opposition to Israel’s occupation. Almost all Palestinian political parties in the OPT are designated by Israel as terrorist organizations.
- Times of Emergency Orders (Foreign Travel) – 1948 prevents, according to Article 5, any citizen from traveling to state listed in The Prevention of Infiltration (Offences and Jurisdiction) Law – 1954 without the permission of the Minister of the Interior or the Prime Minister. The law primarily affects Arab citizens of Israel as all of the states listed are Arab states.
Provides that in the opening session of the Knesset, excerpts from The Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel will be read out that emphasize the exclusive connection of the state to the Jewish people.
Regulates the procedures for the establishment of political parties in Israel. Article 5(1) sets forth various [ideological] limitations on the registration rights of political parties similar to Section 7(A)(1) of The Basic Law: The Knesset, including the prohibition on registration of parties which, by their platforms, deny the existence of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state. The amendment to Article 5 adds the provision that a political party that wishes to run for the Knesset elections will not be registered if its goals or actions, directly or indirectly, support armed struggle of an enemy state or of a terror organization, against the State of Israel.
Ban on Family Unification - Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law (Temporary Order)
Bans family unification where one spouse is an Israeli citizen (in practice almost all of whom are Palestinian citizens) and the other a resident of the OPT (excluding Jewish settler living in the OPT).
Minor exceptions to the ban were introduced in 2005 allowing the Interior Ministry to make special exceptions to the ban, including in cases where the husband is over 35 years of age or the wife over 25, in special medical or work cases, and for children under the age of 14 to live with the parent inside Israel.
An additional amendment in 2007 expanded the ban to include citizens and residents of Iran, Lebanon, Syria and Iraq. In accordance with the law, a cabinet decision added further restrictions in 2008 affecting residents of the Gaza Strip.
Although the law was originally enacted as a temporary order, its validity has been repeatedly extended by the Knesset making it in effect a permanent law. Thousands of Palestinian families have been affected by the law, forced to split apart, move abroad or live in Israel in fear of constant deportation.
Criminal Procedure Law (Detainee Suspected of Security Offence) (Temporary Order)
Criminal Law and Procedures
Removes a number of essential procedural safeguards to detainees suspected of security offenses that are provided to criminal suspects.
While neutral on its face, in practice the law is used solely against Palestinians, who make up the overwhelming majority of detainees classified by Israel as security detainees, thus divesting them of judicial procedural safeguards.
The law allows for the detention of a security suspect for up to 96 hours before being brought before judge, versus 48 hours in other cases, and for up to 35 days without being indicted, versus 30 days in other cases. It also allows security suspects to be denied access to a lawyer for up to 21 days, versus 48 hours in other cases.
Originally passed by the Knesset as a temporary order for 18 months, the law was extended in January 2008 for a further three years.
Criminal Procedure Law - Interrogating Suspects - Amendment No. 4
Criminal Law and Procedures
Exempts the police and the Israeli Security Agency from making audio and video documentation of their interrogations of suspects in security offences. Though ostensibly neutral, the law is used exclusively against Palestinians, the overwhelming majority of security detainees.
This exemption violates the constitutional rights of detainees to equality, dignity and fair legal proceedings, creates conditions that may facilitate the torture of suspects during the interrogation, and it also affects the reliability of the evidence presented before the court against suspects.
Absorption of Discharged Soldiers Law - Amendment No. 7: Benefits for Discharged Soldiers
According to this June 2008 law, any registered university or college student who has completed his or her military service and is a resident of a designated National Priority Area such as the Naqab (Negev), the Galilee, or illegal Jewish settlements in the West Bank will be granted a compensation package including full tuition for the first year of academic education, a year of free preparatory academic education, student housing benefits, and others.
This benefits package adds to the already extensive educational benefits package enjoyed by discharged soldiers in Israel. Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel are exempt from military service and are thus excluded from receiving these state-allocated benefits.
Child Vaccinations and Child Allowances - Economic Efficiency Law
A separate section of The Economic Efficiency Law (Legislative Amendments for Implementing the Economic Plan for 2009-2010) stipulates that children who do not receive the vaccinations recommended by the Ministry of Health will no longer be provided with child allowances. This provision mainly affects Arab Bedouin children living in the Naqab (Negev), since most of the children who do not receive the vaccinations come from this group due to the inaccessibility of health care.
The Ministry of Health recently closed down mother and child clinics in three Arab Bedouin towns which provide these vaccinations, and reopened just two of them after Supreme Court litigation by Adalah. Adalah submitted a petition to the Israeli Supreme Court on 7 October 2010, demanding the annulment of the amendment, which came into effect on 15 December 2010.
National Priority Areas - The Economic Efficiency Law - Legislative Amendments for Implementing the Economic Plan for 2009-2010
This law extends government permission to use sweeping discretion to classify towns, villages and areas as National Priority Areas (NPAs) and to allocate enormous state resources without criteria.
The law contradicts a landmark Israeli Supreme Court decision from 2006 in which the court ruled a government decision from 1998 which classified 553 Jewish towns and only 4 small Arab villages as NPAs with A status in the field of education unconstitutional.
In June 2010, after four years of non-compliance by the state and additional litigation, Adalah filed a motion for contempt of court to the Supreme Court against the Prime Minister due to the government’s failure to implement the court’s decision and the resulting perpetuation of discrimination against Arab citizens of Israel. In February 2011, the Supreme Court dismissed the motion for contempt after the Attorney General’s office announced that the government was no longer using the prohibited classifications.
Institutes broad land privatization, especially of land owned by Palestinian refugees and internally displaced persons, as well as land on which settlements are built in the occupied East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights; permits land exchanges between the state and the JNF, emphasizing the discriminatory nature of Basic Law: Israel Lands; ensures JNF representatives in a new Land Council on Israel lands policy.
Regional Councils Law (Date of General Elections) Special Amendment No. 6
Grants the Interior Minister absolute power to declare the postponement of the first election of a Regional Council following its establishment for an indefinite period of time. The law previously stipulated that elections must be held within four years.
The Knesset passed the law shortly before elections were due to take place to the Abu Basma Regional Council, which includes ten Arab Bedouin villages in the Naqab (Negev). The result of the law is that the current government-appointed council, comprised of a majority of Israeli Jewish members, remained in place.
On 27 April 2010, Adalah and ACRI petitioned the Supreme Court of Israel to demand the cancellation of the amendment and ask the court to order the Interior Minister to announce the holding of democratic elections in the regional council immediately. The organizations argued that the law represented a grave infringement of democratic values and a breach of the state’s duty to ensure regular transparent and democratic elections. At a hearing on the case held in February 2011, the Supreme Court ordered that elections to the Abu Basma Regional Council should be held no later than 4 December 2012.
However, in October 2012, the government split the Abu Basma Council into two separate councils, delaying elections once again.
Pardon Law or Amnesty Law - Termination of Proceedings and Deletion of Records in the Disengagement Plan Law
Civil and Political Rights
The Pardon Law, enacted by the Knesset on 25 January 2010, exempts anyone who was convicted in relation to their opposition to Israel’s 2005 Gaza disengagement plan from legal sanction, provided they have not received a prison sentence. It expanded the early amnesty granted by the Attorney General, when he terminated proceedings against first-time offenders accused of minor offenses. Under the law, charges will be dropped and offenses will be deleted from any criminal records, at the offender’s request.
This law establishes a separate legal process for people who were charged when demonstrating against Gaza disengagement from the process for people charged at other political demonstrations. It thus effectively discriminates on ideological grounds. Palestinian Arab citizens in particular are subjected to severe physical and verbal abuse when they demonstrate, especially at events related to their political or ideological beliefs.
On 23 February 2012, the Supreme Court rejected a petition calling for the cancellation of the law.
Land (Acquisition for Public Purposes) Ordinance - Amendment No. 10
Land and Planning Rights
Allows Finance Minster to confiscate land for public purposes. The state has used this law extensively, in conjunction with other laws such as the Land Acquisition Law (1953) and the Absentees’ Property Law (1950), to confiscate Palestinian-owned land in Israel.
Amendment No. 10 confirms state ownership of land confiscated under this law, even where it has not been used to serve the original confiscation purpose. It allows the state not to use the confiscated land for the original confiscation purpose for 17 years, and prevents landowners from demanding the return of confiscated land not used for the original confiscation purpose if it has been transferred to a third party, or if more than 25 years have elapsed since the confiscation.
The amendment expands the Finance Minister’s authority to confiscate land for public purposes, which under the law includes the establishment and development of towns, and allows the Minister to declare new purposes. It was designed to prevent Arab citizens of Israel from submitting lawsuits to reclaim confiscated land. Over 25 years have passed since the confiscation of the vast majority of Palestinian land, and large tracts have been transferred to third parties, including the discriminatory Jewish National Fund.
Absorption of Discharged Soldiers Law - Amendment No. 12
According to the law, enacted in July 2010, any registered university or college student who has completed his or her military service and is a resident of a designated National Priority Area will be granted a compensation package including: participating in paying the tuition; a year of free preparatory academic education; and additional benefits in areas like student housing. This benefits package goes far beyond and adds to the already extensive educational benefits package that is enjoyed by discharged soldiers in Israel. In general, Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel are exempt from military service for political and historical reasons and thus they are excluded from receiving these state-allocated benefits and discriminated against on the basis of their national belonging.
Negev Individual Settlements - Negev Development Authority Law - Amendment No. 4
Land and Planning Rights
Individual settlements are a tool used by the state to provide individual Jewish Israeli families with hundreds and sometimes thousands of dunams of land for their exclusive use, as part of a policy that seeks to maximise the area which is exclusively by the Jewish population. In the Naqab (Negev), these settlements were seen as part of a plan for saving the land from certain demands, such as for community developments by Arab Bedouin in the region.
There are around 60 individual settlements in the Naqab, stretching over 81,000 dunams, often established without permits and contrary to planning laws.
Amendment No. 4, passed in July 2010, provides legal tools for the recognition of all individual settlements in the Naqab, and gives the Negev Development Authority the power to make recommendations the Israel Land Administration to allocate lands for these settlements in the future.
While the amendment affords official status to the individual settlements, which are provided with all basic services, the unrecognized Arab Bedouin villages in the Naqab are denied status and their 90,000-100,000 inhabitants, all citizens of Israel, live without the most basic of services.
Extension of Detention - Criminal Procedure Law (Suspects of Security Offenses) (Temporary Order) - Amendment No. 2
Criminal Law and Procedures
This law, enacted on 20 December 2010, is designed to extend the validity of harsh, special detention procedures for those suspected of security offenses. While neutral on its face, in practice the bill would apply to and be used mainly against Palestinians from Gaza and Palestinian citizens of Israel.
The special procedures allow law enforcement authorities to delay bringing a security suspect before a judge for up to 96 hours after arrest (instead of 48 hours for other detainees). It also allows the courts to extend a security suspect’s detention for up to 20 days at a time (instead of 15 days) and to hold extension of detention hearings in his/her absence.
In this last respect the law seeks to bypass a February 2010 Supreme Court decision that struck down article 5 of the Criminal Procedure (Detainees Suspected of Security Offences) (Temporary Order) Law (2006), which stipulated that security suspects could have their pre-trial detention extended in their absence.
The law removes a number of essential procedural safeguards from detainees, thus placing them at a greater risk of torture and ill-treatment, and increasing the likelihood of false confessions.
Law to Strip Payments from a Current or Former Member of Knesset due to a Crime
Under this law, the Knesset may withhold salary and pensions from current or former MKs declared by the Attorney General to be alleged suspects or defendants or persons convicted of crime that is punishable by at least ten years’ imprisonment, and who do not appear at a criminal trial or investigation against them, including for reasons of being outside the country. The alleged crime should have been committed in full or in part during the period in which the suspect or defendant was an MK.
The law was drafted in response to the exile of former Arab MK Dr. Azmi Bishara (Balad/Tajammoa), who left Israel in March 2007 after police announced he was suspected of giving information to Hezbollah during the Second Lebanon War. However, the state has not filed an indictment against Dr. Bishara or pointed to any clear evidence against him. These facts indicate the arbitrary nature of the law; even MKs against whom there is no clear evidence could be harmed and lose their pensions.
Foreign Government Funding Law - Law on Disclosure Requirements for Recipients of Support from a Foreign State Entity
Freedom of Association
Imposes invasive reporting requirements on NGOs, requiring them to submit and publish quarterly reports on any funding received from foreign governments or publicly-funded foreign donors, including information on any oral or written undertakings made to the funders. These details must also be published on the websites of the NGOs themselves, the Ministry of Justice, and the Registrar of Associations.
While the law’s declared purpose is transparency, these provisions are superfluous since every NGO in Israel is already required under Israeli law to list its donors and other financial information on its website and to report annually to the government, specifying where foreign governments have donated money. Its purpose is rather to harm human rights NGOs, as these restrictions may discourage foreign government funding. By contrast, Jewish Israeli settler groups do not receive such funding but are privately funded, and are therefore unaffected by the legislation.
Furthermore, the law specifically exempts the World Zionist Organization, the Jewish Agency for Israel, the United Israel Appeal, the Jewish National Fund and their subsidiary corporations from its provisions. Thus the bill is inherently discriminatory.
Palestinian NGOs in Israel and all NGOs that promote Palestinian rights are particularly vulnerable since they do not seek funding from Israeli governmental sources and have more limited access to private funding.
Nakba Law - Amendment No. 40 to the Budgets Foundations Law
Civil and Political Rights
The Nakba Law authorizes the Finance Minister to reduce state funding or support to an institution if it holds an activity that rejects the existence of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state or commemorates Israel’s Independence Day or the day on which the state was established as a day of mourning.
Palestinians traditionally mark Israel’s official Independence Day as a national day of mourning and organize commemorative events. The law violates their rights, and restricts their freedom to express their opinion, and will cause substantial harm to cultural and educational institutions and further entrench discrimination. The law causes major harm to the principle of equality and the rights of Arab citizens to preserve their history and culture. The law deprives Arab citizens of their right to commemorate the Nabka, an integral part of their history.
On 4 May 2011, Adalah, ACRI, the parents of school children and school alumni filed a petition against the law to the Supreme Court, requesting that it find the Nakba Law unconstitutional. The Supreme Court rejected the petition in January 2012, ruling that the case was premature as the law had not been used against any specific institution.
Enacted on 28 March 2011, the law allows courts to revoke the citizenship of persons convicted of treason, espionage, assisting the enemy in time of war, violating state sovereignty, serving in enemy forces (as defined in the Israeli penal law), and acts of terrorism as defined under the Prohibition on Terrorist Financing Law (2005), if asked to do so by the Ministry of the Interior, as part of a criminal sentence delivered.
Citizenship can only be revoked if the defendant has dual citizenship or else resides outside Israel (in which case the law creates an assumption that such a person has dual citizenship). If a person does not have dual citizenship or reside abroad, then he or she will be granted residency status in Israel instead of citizenship, a downgrading that severely restricts the right to political participation.
In 26 October 2010, Adalah wrote to the Chair of the Knesset’s Internal Affairs and Environment Committee asking him not to support the law. Adalah argued that the legitimate path for dealing with such alleged crimes is the criminal law, and that the law targeted Arab citizens of Israel and makes their citizenship conditional, in line with the right-wing political rallying cry of no citizenship, no loyalty. This new amendment follows a prior amendment made to the Citizenship Law in 2008 which provides that citizenship may be revoked for breach of trust or disloyalty to the state.
The revocation of citizenship is one of the most extreme punitive measures at the disposal of states, and may result in cruel and disproportionate punishment, particularly when pursued against a particular group of citizens, in this case Palestinian citizens of Israel. The law was proposed following the arrest and indictment of Arab civil society leader Ameer Makhoul on charges of espionage.
The Admissions Committees Law legalizes Admission Committees that operate in hundreds of small community towns built on state land in the Naqab (Negev) and Galilee. The law gives Admission Committees, bodies that select applicants for housing units and plots of land, almost full discretion to accept or reject individuals from living in these towns. The Committees include a representative from the Jewish Agency or the World Zionist Organization, quasi-governmental entities. The Committees, in practice, filter out Arab Palestinian applicants and others from marginalized groups.
While one of the law’s provisions states a duty to respect the right to equality and prevent discrimination, the law allows these Committees to reject applicants deemed unsuitable to the social life of the community… or the social and cultural fabric of the town, thereby legitimizing the exclusion of entire groups. The law also authorizes Admissions Committees to adopt criteria determined by individual community towns themselves based on their special characteristics, including those community towns that have defined themselves as having a Zionist vision.
Foreign Property Ownership - Israel Lands Law (Amendment No. 3)
Land and Planning Rights
The amendment, passed in March 2011, prevents any person or party (public or private) from selling land or renting property for a period of over five years or from bequeathing or transferring private ownership rights in Israel to foreigners. Under the law, foreigners are any persons who are not residents or citizens of Israel, or Jews, who have the automatic right to immigrate to Israel under the Law of Return (1950).
Anti-Boycott Law - Prevention of Damage to the State of Israel through Boycott
Civil and Political Rights
The Anti-Boycott Law, passed on 11 July 2011, prohibits the public promotion of academic, economic or cultural boycott by Israeli citizens and organizations against Israeli institutions or illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank. It enables the filing of civil lawsuits against anyone who calls for boycott; it creates a new civil wrong or tort. It also prohibits a person who calls for boycott from participating in any public tender.
The law also provides for the revocation of tax exemptions and other economic benefits given by the state from Israeli associations, as well as academic, cultural and scientific institutions which receive state support, if they call for or engage in boycott. The court may also award compensation, including punitive damages, even if no actual damage is proven.
Furthermore, the law provides that Israeli businesses, which publicly declare that they will not buy supplies or goods manufactured in the OPT may have their state-sponsored benefits revoked. As such, the law severely restricts freedom of expression and targets non-violent political opposition to the Occupation.
Adalah and ACRI submitted a petition to the Israeli Supreme Court in March 2012 on behalf of leading human rights organizations and Israeli and Palestinian groups affected by the law seeking its cancellation. In December 2012 the Supreme Court issued an order nisi against the law and ordered the state to explain why the law should not be cancelled.
Israeli Prisons Ordinance - Amendment No. 40 (Meetings with Lawyers)
Criminal Law and Procedures
Allows the Israel Prison Service (IPS) to prohibit prisoners involved in security crimes from meeting their lawyers if the IPS suspects that such meetings may lead to the transfer of information relating to a terror organization. The law targets and discriminates against security prisoners, who are overwhelmingly Palestinians, as well as their lawyers, who are also generally Palestinians. As of May 2012, there were over 4,600 Palestinian political prisoners being held as security prisoners in Israeli prisons.
Under the law, the IPS can prevent prisoners’ meetings with lawyers for 96 hours (previously 24 hours), a period that could be extended for up to as many as 14 days (previously 5 days) with the approval of the state prosecutor. A district court can extend this prohibition for six months (previously 21 days) and up to maximum period of one year (previously three months). The Supreme Court can extend the ban for unlimited periods after one year (Supreme Court supervision was required after three months under the previous law). These sweeping restrictions further increase prisoners’ isolation and prevent them from effectively accessing the courts and obtaining redress.
An additional amendment to the Israel Prisons Ordinance was passed on 14 May 2012, allowing for restrictions on security prisoners’ access to legal counsel.
Under the new law, the IPS Director may restrict the number of lawyers able to visit a prisoner or group of prisoners for a period of three months, and to extend the period for an additional three months with the approval of the Attorney General.
The law also allows a district court to extend the period of prohibition for up to six months at a time, without examination of any evidence against the prisoner or the group of prisoners.
The law, which passed in July 2012, grants a 35% tax exemption on donations to institutions that promote Zionist settlement. The law differentiates between public institutions on political and ideological grounds, contradicting the intended purpose of tax benefits to serve social goals such as promoting education, culture and religion. This proposed distinction violates the principle of equality between public institutions, regardless of the basis of their work.
The benefit applies to institutions that promote the establishment or expansion of settlements in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, which are considered illegal under international law.
Criminal Procedure Law - Interrogating Suspects - Amendment No. 6
Criminal Law and Procedures
This amendment, which passed in the Knesset on 4 July 2012, extends the period of Amendment No. 4 to the Criminal Procedure Law which allows the interrogations of security suspects not to be recorded. Almost all of security detainees are Palestinians from the OPT or Palestinian citizens of Israel.
The law, passed in 2002, required the police to make audiovisual recordings of interrogations of suspects charged with crimes carrying a minimum sentence of at least ten years. The law established a schedule for its gradual implementation, with recordings of interrogations of security suspects to become mandatory from 2008, under Article 17. That year, however, the Knesset passed a temporary order extending the exemption until July 2012, ten years after the law was originally enacted. With the passing of amendment no. 6, the exemption is extended until July 2015. Notably, the requirement to make audiovisual recordings of interrogations does not apply to the Israel Security Agency (ISA) (also known as the GSS or Shabak).
On 21 December 2010, Adalah, together with Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, Al Mezan and the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI), filed a petition to the Supreme Court requesting that the exemption be cancelled. The petition was dismissed in February 2013, based on the justification that a new Knesset had just been elected, and the government promised to do a thorough examination of the amendment.
Civil Wrongs Law - Amendment No. 8 (Liability of the State)
1967 Occupied Territories
Introduces near-insurmountable obstacles to justice, accountability and redress for civilian victims harmed by acts of the security forces carried out in the OPT, even acts that violate international law, and consolidates the immunity of the state from tort actions brought against it.
The law widely exempts Israel from its liability for injuries and damages inflicted on Palestinians in or from the OPT by the Israeli military.
First, the amendment redefines the term act of war by replacing a paragraph that required there to be imminent danger to the life and body of Israeli soldiers with the provision that an act of war should be considered such in terms of its nature; including the purpose, location, or the danger on the security force as a result of conducting the operation.
Second, the amendment added a new rule that gives the state the ability to invoke the no liability for an act of war defense as a preliminary argument. If it does, the court must consider the argument and give its decision according to the argument (without hearing evidence of any kind). If the court decides that the act is indeed an act of war, the case will be dismissed without evidence being heard.
Third, the original law exempted the state from its responsibility for injuries and damages inflicted on residents of enemy states. The amendment adds exemption from damages to persons who are not citizens or residents of Israel, and are residents of a territory outside Israel that has been declared an enemy territory in a governmental decree.
This provision would apply to the Gaza Strip, for example, which has been declared an enemy entity by Israel. Here, the new amendment contradicts the Supreme Court’s ruling from 2005, in which the court struck down an earlier provision that sweepingly exempted the state from liability from damages resulting from acts of war carried out in areas declared by the Defense Minister as conflict zones.
Moreover, this new exemption applies retroactively to 12 September 2005, the date of Israel’s disengagement from Gaza, allowing cases pending before the courts to be dismissed. Fourth, the amendment designates the courts in the Southern and Jerusalem Districts as the only courts with the authority to preside over relevant cases, even though it is significantly easier for large numbers of lawyers and Palestinian plaintiffs to access courts in other districts.
Increased Governance and Raising the Qualifying Election Threshold – Bill to Amend Basic Law: The Government (1160)
This amendment, enacted in March 2014, raises the threshold percentage of votes required for political parties in order to obtain seats in the Knesset from 2% to 3.25%.
The amendment to increase the threshold undermines the parliamentary representation of the Palestinian Arab minority in Israel in particular, more than other groups of citizens. The increased threshold prevents the Arab parties from contesting the elections within multiple party lists that represent the broad range of their political and ideological beliefs. The amendment to raise the threshold is an instance of the Knesset majority imposing its will on the Arab minority, in violation of its political rights.
In January 2015, the Israeli Supreme Court rejected a petition filed by private attorney Yehuda Gutman to cancel the amendment. Adalah and the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) participated in a hearing on the case in December 2014 as amicus curiae.
Order stripping essential procedural safeguards from security detainees - Amendment No. 4 to the Criminal Procedure Law (Detainee Suspected of Security Offence) (Temporary Order)
Criminal Law and Procedures
The order re-extended a law from 2006 that removes a number of essential procedural safeguards to detainees suspected of security offenses that are provided to criminal suspects. The law is officially classified as a temporary order, but has now been in effect for close to 10 years. Its validity was due to expire in December 2015, but the new order extended it for a period of one year, until 31 December 2016. The order allows for the detention of a security suspect for up to 96 hours before being brought before judge, versus 48 hours in other cases, and for up to 35 days without being indicted, versus 30 days in other cases.
The order also allows for the suspect not to be made present at hearings to extend his or her detention or in appeal hearings against the detention if the interruption of an ongoing investigation to attend the hearing is deemed highly likely to thwart efforts to safeguard human life. It also allows security suspects to be denied access to a lawyer for up to 21 days, versus 48 hours in other cases. While neutral on its face, in practice the law is used almost exclusively against Palestinians, who make up the overwhelming majority of detainees classified as security detainees.
Fines on parents of stone-throwers - Amendment No. 20 to the Youth (Care and Supervision) Law
Criminal Law and Procedures
This new law allows for direct fines to be imposed on the parents of minors convicted of committing an offense listed in the Israeli Penal Code. It provides the offense of stone-throwing as an example, and this fact, combined with its timing during the current round of violence, gives rise to fears that it will be deployed in a discriminatory manner against the parents of Palestinian children – citizens of Israel or residents of East Jerusalem – convicted of stone-throwing and similar acts who are brought before Israeli civil courts.
The law violates the most basic principles of criminal law: that the imposition of criminal responsibility and punishment must be specific and apply solely to the person who committed the offense. Punishing the parents violates the prohibition on collective punishment, since there can be no vicarious liability on parents for the acts of their child.
Revoking child allowances from parents of children convicted of security offenses - Amendment No. 163 to the National Insurance Act
This new law strips child allowances from the parents of a child convicted of criminal charges that are classified as security offences. It targets Palestinian minors who are either citizens of Israel or residents of East Jerusalem, and who are all brought before Israeli civil courts.
The National Insurance Law states explicitly that child allowances belong to the children, even if their parents actually receive these payments. By stripping child allowances from the child and his/her parents, the law creates arbitrary discrimination between minors who are convicted of security offenses (mainly Palestinians), and other minors convicted of other criminal charges, in breach of the fundamental principle of equality.
Mandatory minimum sentences for convicted stone-throwers - Amendment No. 120 to the Israeli Penal Code
Criminal Law and Procedures
This new law imposes mandatory minimum prison sentences on persons convicted of stone-throwing or similar acts. The minimum sentence is set at one-fifth of the maximum sentence – either 10 or 20 years – which equates to either two or four years. Mandatory minimum sentences fail to account for the individual circumstances of each case.
The new law essentially targets Palestinians (the alleged stone-throwers) who are either citizens of Israel or residents of East Jerusalem, and who are all brought before Israeli civil courts. The law is officially a temporary order and is valid for three years. Very few Israeli criminal laws contain mandatory minimum punishments as they remove judges’ discretion in imposing punishment; thus, this new law is a severe measure. In addition, although the majority of the stone-throwers are young people, the law does not allow judges to give reasonable weight to the option of rehabilitation.
The new law follows the earlier enactment of a related law that added a new 10-year maximum sentence for persons convicted of stone-throwing or similar acts without requiring proof of intent to cause harm. The pre-existing maximum sentence of 20 years applies in cases in which the courts rule there was such proof of intent.
This law targets human rights organizations. It requires NGOs that receive 50% or more of their funding from foreign governments to state that fact in various situations, including in all of their publications, written reports to Knesset members and decision-makers, and at any hearing or discussion involving a written protocol; and in any oral discussion held in a place where public officials work. An earlier version of the bill also sought to compel representatives of these NGOs to wear tags in the Knesset stating their names, organizations, and the fact that they receive funding from foreign governments; this provision was removed from the latest draft, dated 18 January 2016. Violations of the law will be punishable by a fine of NIS 29,200 (c. US $7,500).
The law aims to mark out, harass and incite against human rights organizations that express views critical to the government’s policies, particularly policies that discriminate against or otherwise harm Palestinians in the OPT and in Israel. The political motivations behind the law are clear since all registered non-profit organizations are already required by an amendment to the Law of Associations enacted in 2011 that imposes invasive reporting requirements on NGO by requiring them to publish quarterly reports on any funding received from foreign governments or publicly funded foreign donors. Thus, this information is already publicly available. Significantly, the law does not require transparency of donations received from private individuals, leaving right-wing, settler organizations, which are heavily funded by private US donors, unaffected.
This law follows several previous unsuccessful bills that sought to clamp down on human rights organizations by threatening them with closure and/or taxing their income. The US, the EU, numerous members of the European and the German Parliaments, among others, have criticized the law and called on the Israeli government not to support its enactment.
Expulsion of MKs Law - Amendment No. 44 to Basic Law: Knesset
Civil and Political Rights Political Participation
This law allows a majority of 90 Knesset Members (MKs) to oust a serving MK on the following three grounds, as enumerated in Section 7A of the Basic Law: The Knesset: (1) denial of the existence of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state; (2) incitement to racism; and (3) support for armed struggle of an enemy state or a terrorist organization against Israel.
It therefore allows an elected representative to be suspended by their peers on ideological grounds. In case of a criminal offense, standing MKs can already be expelled from the Knesset for a conviction with moral turpitude under existing provisions of the Basic Law: The Knesset.
The bill constitutes an additional legal tool for the Israeli Jewish majority in the Knesset to further delegitimize and marginalize the elected political representatives of the Palestinian minority in Israel. It provides a mechanism for the majority to oust Arab MKs and political lists on the basis of purely political/ideological considerations, despite the clear conflict of interest entailed in MKs voting to unseat their political rivals.
The bill came in direct response to a recent visit by three Arab MKs to the family members of Palestinians killed by Israeli security forces while allegedly carrying out attacks, as part of efforts to secure the return their bodies, which are being withheld by Israel, to their families.
Criminal Law and Procedures Civil and Political Rights Freedom of Association
The Counter-Terrorism bill sprawls over 104 pages. It contains broad and vague definitions of terrorism and terrorist organizations, which may be exploited by the law enforcement authorities to criminalize legitimate political action by Palestinian citizens of Israel and Palestinian residents of the OPT. The law entrenches many emergency regulations, which are currently in effect, and which date back to the British Mandatory period. The government has recently used the emergency regulations to arbitrarily outlaw the Islamic Movement in Israel.
The law includes draconian measures for investigating detainees accused of security offenses; provides for the extensive use of secret evidence in court; limits detainees’ access to judicial review; lowers the evidentiary requirements of the state in such cases; creates new criminal offenses, including for any public expression of support for or sympathy with a terrorist group; and sharply increases the maximum sentences for people convicted of security offenses. It is liable to result in serious human rights violations and to further undermine democratic principles in Israel.
The law substantially strengthens and expands the powers of the police and the General Security Services (GSS, or Shabak/Shin Bet) to suppress legitimate protest activities by Palestinian citizens of Israel and Palestinian residents of the OPT. It adds to a pre-existing system that provides fertile ground for the security agencies to employ illegal methods in the interrogation room, which includes a temporary order that exempts the security agencies from producing audio or visual documentation of interrogations of security detainees. The Knesset extended this order, which creates conditions that may facilitate the torture of security suspects during interrogation, in July 2015, for the third time.
Stop-and-Frisk Law - Amendment No. 5 to the Power for Maintaining Public Security Law
Civil and Political Rights
The law expands the powers of the police to stop and frisk individuals. Previously, the police were permitted to stop and frisk a person only where there was a reasonable suspicion that he or she was carrying a concealed weapon or other object intended for use in criminal activity. The new law allows police to stop and frisk people in case of a reasonable suspicion that he or she is about to commit a violent act. It therefore significantly expands police powers to stop and frisk individuals based on far more general suspicions. The law also authorizes police to frisk any person present in an area declared temporarily as a stop-and-frisk zone by a district chief of police, for reasons including potential security threats [suspicion of terrorism].
The law was originally tabled in 2011 but did not pass into law at that time. It was revived during the recent round of violence. This context adds to fears that the law will create greater scope for the discriminatory use of these sweeping powers by the police to conduct arbitrary and invasive searches of Palestinians, particularly in East Jerusalem, as well as against members of other marginalized groups.