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20.12.2018

HaMoked to Prime Minister Netanyahu: the bill to displace relatives of assailants is unacceptable and must be shelved

On December 19, 2018, the bill for the deportation of families of nationalistically-motivated assailants passed a preliminary reading in the Knesset. The bill seeks to grant the military commander the authority to forcibly remove from their West Bank homes first-degree relatives of “a person who killed another person for nationalistic motives or tried to kill a person thus”, if they “encouraged the act or did not prevent it”. It was reported in the media that before the preliminary vote, the bill was approved by the Security Cabinet and the Ministerial Committee on Legislation despite the opposition of the Israel Security Agency (ISA) and the Attorney General.

That same day, HaMoked sent an urgent letter to Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Netanyahu – as it had done before regarding similar bills in the past – calling on him to promptly shelve the bill. HaMoked wrote that the proposed law was wholly unacceptable, stood in complete contradiction to both Israeli and International law, and embodied severe harm to human rights, principally the rights to dignity, liberty and property.

HaMoked clarified that passage of this legislation would cause devastating damage to all aspects of the deportees’ lives, as forcible removal meant separation from their families and distancing them from their property and livelihood, effectively making them homeless. Moreover, this is forcible removal of protected persons, which is strictly prohibited in international law and constitutes a war crime. Therefore, HaMoked clarified, advancing and adopting this bill could have far-reaching repercussions for the state and the individuals involved in its legislation and implementation.

HaMoked also noted that the authority the bill sought to grant the military commander completely contradicted the Ajuri precedent set by the High Court of Justice in 2002, which allows forcible transfer only when, among other things, it is a step expected to neutralize a danger arising directly from the expelled persons themselves. In contrast, this bill concerns forcible removal – purportedly for deterrence – of innocent people, which is prohibited under Ajuri. HaMoked added that it seemed the motivation behind the bill was not to truly pursue deterrence – especially given the ISA’s position that it would not achieve deterrence – but was meant to appease public opinion and surrender to pressure groups.
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