Fighting Terrorism Bill

Tabled by: אhe government.
The bill’s purpose is to legally anchor the “state of emergency” regulations regarding the fight against terrorism and to turn them into permanent legislation. Instead of adopting proportionate norms in the fight against terrorism, norms appropriate to a democratic state in the 21st century, the bill seeks to perpetuate and “normalize” the measures currently provided for by emergency legislation and by draconian defense ordinances from the time of the British Mandate, by enshrining them in the permanent law of the State of Israel. As such, it threatens to cause severe and irreversible damage to the state of human rights in Israel which could haunt us for generations.
ACRI recognizes the importance of the fight against terrorism and the State’s obligation to protect its citizens and residents from acts of grave violence. Nevertheless, as a democracy, Israel must fight terrorism in a manner consistent with the basic principles and fundamental rights that underlie its existence as a democratic nation.
Among the injurious measures included in the Bill (and it should be emphasized that these are just a few of the most serious problems), are the following:
1. Administrative Detention and Control Orders – Enshrining in permanent law the anti-democratic authority to arrest people indefinitely, and to impose significant restrictions on their freedom of movement, without bringing up charges against them;
2. Widespread use of secret evidence in various proceedings – from administrative detention, to proceedings regarding the designation of “terrorist organizations”, to proceedings for confiscating property;
3. Overly broad, all-encompassing definitions of a “terrorist organization”, “a member of a terrorist group”, and “acts of terror”;
4. Anchoring draconian powers in the investigation of security suspects, which could lead to the use of illegal interrogation methods and the conviction of the innocent;
5. Draconian definitions of criminal offenses, which violate freedom of speech more than necessary;
6. New rules that contradict the basic principles of criminal law.
The proposed legislation contains sweeping provisions, which broaden the scope of criminality and threaten to turn law-abiding citizens and organizations (with no connection whatsoever to violent acts) into “terrorists.” The bill grants the executive branch unchecked, draconian powers to use harsh measures against individuals and organizations – all this without trial, on the basis of mere suspicion, and without establishing the minimal guarantees for the defense of the rights of the accused. As such, the bill opens the door for improper state intervention in the country’s political discourse and in the freedom of association of its citizens. ACRI has submitted its comments to the state Memorandum of Law and continues its opposition to this bill, which could cause serious damage to the basic constitutional rights of the individual.
22 April 2010: The Ministry of Justice publishes a memorandum on this proposed bill.
3 August 2011: Bill passes its first reading in the plenum.
Status: Bill passed its first reading in the plenum.

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