Palestinian prisoners in Hamas jail 370.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Suhaib Salem )
The punishments for involvement in terror organizations and for anyone who
supports, identifies or sympathizes with terror will be increased, according to
a bill approved by the Ministerial Committee for Legislation Sunday.
Justice Ministry worked on the bill for four years, and its passage was
disrupted by the last election.
The bill increases sentences for terror
attacks from 30 to 40 years and, in some cases, allows suspects to be jailed for
up to 30 days without seeing a lawyer. In addition, the state will be able to
seize property belonging to terror organizations and limit their members from
leaving the country even if there is no warrant for their arrest.
bill will also apply to “price tag” vandalism, which Justice Minister Tzipi
Livni considers terror.
The legislation is meant to replace the national
state of emergency in matters of terror.
The national emergency has been
extant since the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, and includes
hundreds of orders covering security issues as well as civil and economic
Meretz leader Zehava Gal-On accused the government of trampling on
human rights in the name of fighting terror.
“This bill is invalid and
unconstitutional, as it gives the government draconian authority to arrest
people and limit freedom of movement, and turns law-abiding people and
organizations into ‘terrorists,’” Gal-On said.
Gal-On said that the
government fights terror with “one hand tied behind its back,” paraphrasing
former Supreme Court president Aharon Barak.
“The state of emergency,
which was applied here since the British Mandate, cannot be replaced with
anti-democratic legislation that will be anchored in our modern lawbooks,” she
added. “Even in a democracy, not everything is allowed.”
for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) panned the bill, saying it allows the
government to take serious steps against people and organizations without a
trial and without minimum guarantees that their rights will be
“The bill seeks to perpetuate and even worsen the
anti-democratic arrangements in the state of national emergency,” the
organization said. “Therefore, it will cause serious and irreversible damage to
the state of human rights in Israel.”