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16.1.2017

Bill for the expulsion of perpetrators' families is on the agenda again in Israel: due to "legal difficulties" the deliberations were postponed by three months

In March 2016, two bills were laid on the Knesset's table, introduced by MK David Bitan. The bills were signed by Knesset members from the coalition and the opposition and are intended to facilitate the expulsion from Israel to the Gaza strip Palestinians residing in Jerusalem based only on their kinship to a person involved in or suspected of involvement in the execution of attacks. The draconian legislation, which was promoted by the Prime Minister, was divided into two bills: the first concerns the expulsion of perpetrators and their family members having status in Israel, and the other, concerns perpetrators and their family members, residents of the West Bank.

The bills were heavily criticized by human rights organizations. HaMoked turned to the Attorney General and argued firmly that this was a totally inappropriate legislation which constituted collective punishment, in violation of international law. Furthermore, the Geneva Convention expressly prohibits the expulsion of the inhabitants of occupied territories. HaMoked noted further "removing a person from his place of residence and his forcible transfer elsewhere severely violates his dignity, liberty and property. A home is not only a shelter and by distancing a person therefrom he is also separated from his family members, from his entire social environment, from his source of livelihood and from his property."

The deliberations on the bills by the Ministerial Committee for Legislation were scheduled for May 22, 2016, but were canceled in the last minute. The Attorney General made it then clear to the initiators of the legislation that it was not lawful and would not be upheld by the High Court of Justice.

Following the attack on January 8, 2017, in Armon HaNatziv in Jerusalem, the Minister of the Interior announced that he intended to revoke the status of several relatives of the perpetrator, resident of Jabal Al-Mukabber in East Jerusalem – all residing in Jerusalem by virtue of family unification procedure. At the same time, publications were made in the media of intended deliberations on the bills by the Ministerial Committee for Legislation on January 15, 2017. However, the deliberations were postponed due to "legal difficulties".
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