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New Israeli law prevents Palestinians taking legal action against security forces

February 17, 2014 at 11:18 pm

A new law passed by Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, has been criticised for making it impossible for Palestinians to take legal action against members of the Israeli security forces. Knesset member Mohammed Baraka of the Democratic Front for Peace and Equality said that the new law “legitimises crimes committed by Israeli occupation forces against Palestinians”.

Furthermore, alleged Mr Baraka, this is the prelude to Israel committing even more illegal acts against the people of the occupied West Bank “without being held accountable”.

He warned that although “this is not the worst law endorsed by parliament recently, it reflects the severe lapse in ethical values by the Knesset and the head of the Constitution and Law Committee.” The latter, he added, does not display any kind of humanitarian emotions or feelings. The Democratic Front for Peace and Equality was the only party which opposed this piece of legislation.

“This kind of law reflects the illogical nature which dominates Israeli mentality, which sees crimes against humanity as legitimate,” he said. Recalling other Israeli laws, some of which have been endorsed and some which are still at the draft stage, he pointed out that they all target Palestinian individuals and society “while giving illegal Jewish settlers a free hand to commit whatever crimes they want”.

Baraka mentioned the tragedy of a Palestinian girl from the Gaza Strip who was paralysed when her family car was hit by an Israeli rocket that killed a number of her relatives. “Why should she not have the right to seek compensation from those who carried out that attack?” he asked.

Fellow MK Dov Khenin called the law “unethical, just as the occupation is unethical”. In his speech in the Knesset, Khenin said that it is “a certificate of political stupidity for those who proposed it”. The reason, he claimed, is that this law “closes the door for the Palestinians to use the Israeli judiciary but that will not stop them; they will go the European and International judiciary instead.”

Lawyer Khenin claimed that such a law shows how much the Israeli government needs to reform its legal advisory board. “This law will achieve the opposite of what the government intended. Palestinians will not keep silent and if the Israeli leaders skipped their home [the Israeli courts], they will be caught by international courts.” He added that there are three basic reasons for objecting to the new law: its immorality, its contradiction with international human rights conventions and its weakening of the Israeli judiciary.