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Israel debating bill banning rights groups from defending Palestinians

May 13, 2017 at 11:17 am

The Israeli government is to discuss a draft law banning Israeli rights groups from defending Palestinians by petitioning the High Court, Israeli newspaper Haaretz revealed yesterday.

The bill would prevent Israeli human rights groups from “petitioning the High Court of Justice on behalf of Palestinians.”

According to Haaretz, the Israeli Ministerial Committee for Legislation is set to discuss this bill during the cabinet’s weekly meeting on Sunday.

Haaretz also added: “The bill is aimed primarily at [Israeli] left-wing organisations such as Yesh Din, Peace Now and the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, which routinely petition the court on behalf of Palestinians.”

In addition, it said: “The bill would bar Knesset members from petitioning the court to challenge cabinet decisions and laws passed by the Knesset.”

The Israeli daily pointed out that the bill “would provide that no individual, organisation or public agency could petition the court to challenge a government action unless that action directly and personally harmed either the individual petitioner, members of the petitioning organisation or an interest that a public agency is entrusted to upholding.”

Members of the Likud, which leads the coalition government, drafted the bill and have been working to advance it until it is ratified.

Petitions filed by such Israeli organisations have repeatedly led to the evacuation of illegal settlement outposts in the occupied West Bank that were built on privately owned Palestinian land.

On 23 December 2016, the UN Security Council passed a resolution declaring that Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinians territories were illegal and undermined prospects of establishing a future Palestinian state.