The Israeli Government passed Sunday [June 9 2013] the “Anti-Terror Bill”, authorizing harsher punishment against individuals suspected or convicted of aiding armed groups in the country, and anywhere in the world.Several human rights groups in Israel and around the world voiced serious concerns regarding direct human rights violations, especially since this law strengthens and “legalizes” Administrative Detention orders confining hundreds, and even thousands, behind bars for extended periods without charges or trial.
The bill passed during a vote at the Israeli Ministerial Committee for Legislation, headed by Israeli Justice Minister, Tzipi Livni.
It does not only target those “convicted of terror attacks”, but also those who express support, emphasize and “incite terror activities” in addition to those believed to be engaged in preparations to carrying out violent acts.
Part of the penalties that this bill proposed include sentencing individuals for a life term without the possibility of parole, and allows the Police, the Security Services and all related agencies to confine “suspects” up to 30 days without granting them the right to any legal representation.
The passed bill also allows Israel to seize property of armed groups and individuals, in addition to preventing them from traveling abroad when there are no arrest warrants against them.
Israeli daily Haaretz has reported that the new legislation, would replace the “national state of emergency regulations” that Israel enforced after its establishment in the historic land of Palestine in 1948. Those regulations affect civil, security and economic issues.
The law particularly targets Palestinians and the indigenous Arab population in Israel, as those facing charges of “security or criminal violations”, whether in civil or military courts, would be facing very harsh sentences.
Head of the Meretz opposition party, Zahava Gal-On, said that Israel is denying human rights under the guise of combating terror.
She said that the emergency law applied in the country since the British occupation of Palestine, “cannot just be replaced with legislation that is anti-democratic”.
Also, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) slammed the bill, described it as anti-democratic, and warmed that its provisions could turn legal organizations and law-abiding persons into terrorists just because they are suspected of aiding or practicing terror.
The Arabs48 news website reported that, under the new law, persons who even express support to groups labeled by Israel as “hostile” or “terrorist” could be imprisoned up to three years. It also considers financial support to these organizations as an “act of terror”.
The Arabs48 added that the new bill increases the years of life-terms from 30 to 40 years.
It stated that the Israeli Prosecutors Office said that Price Tag attacks have not been labeled as acts of terror, as the Office believes that boosting intelligence activity and adequate training to police officers dealing with those attacks could put an end to these attacks.
The Israeli Government Legal Advisor stated that, legally, there is nothing stopping the government from describing and declaring Price Tag attacks as acts of terror.
In an Editorial Published on June 9, Haaretz said that the core of this bill has serious and extremely wide definitions for a terrorist organization, or terrorist acts, and added that once an organization, including a charity group, is labeled as a terrorist group, the moral base and all legal measures are destroyed.