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Timeline: Israel’s anti-Palestinian laws since 1948


09 November 2017: 30 families in the Jordan Valley receive eviction notices dated 1 November warning them they have eight days to evacuate their homes before they are demolished. They now live in constant fear of raids and forced displacement

10 November 2017: Amendments are made to the proposed ‘Jewish Nation-State Law’ allowing it to head for its first vote in the Knesset next month

09 November 2017: Israel plans to double the number of settlers in the Jordan Valley area because the area ‘must be strengthened’, Israeli Radio reports

08 November 2017: Israel approves building permits for 240 new homes in settlements in occupied East Jerusalem, including 90 units in Gilo and another 150 in Ramat Shlomo

08 November 2017: Israeli occupation forces destroy a Palestinian-owned commercial building in the French Hill district of occupied East Jerusalem. This is the third time that the building has been destroyed by the Israelis

08 November 2017: Israel’s Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz demands the dismissal of a civil servant who supports the Palestinian right of return, saying ‘a legal way has to be found to immediately terminate the new employee’s employment at the National Road Safety Authority’

06 November 2017: Israeli occupation forces have began clear its own landmines from Palestinian-owned land adjacent to the illegal settlement of Karnei Shomron near Qalqiliya. The clearance programme is expected to last two months; more than 2,200 landmines are believed to have been laid in the area, which covers around 20 acres of stolen land

24 October 2017: Israeli occupation forces once again deliver demolition notices to Palestinians in the occupied East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Silwan

26 September 2017: Illegal Israeli settlers call for the Israeli government to enact harsher punishments on the families of Palestinian prisoners through ‘deny citizenship’ and ‘carry out more house demolitions’

26 September 2017: Israeli MK Amir Ohana proposes a bill which would ‘expand the interior minister’s authority to revoke permanent residence status for security reasons’ in an effort to ‘circumvent’ controversial court rulings against revoking residency of Arabs in Jerusalem

11 September 2017: Israel begins construction of its first new illegal settlement in the occupied West Bank. The new settlement, known as Amichai, is being built to house about 300 hardline residents of the illegal West Bank Jewish outpost of Amona. The Cabinet allocated $16 million for its construction

11 September 2017: Israeli authorities are making it increasingly difficult for Palestinians’ foreign spouses to stay in the occupied West Bank, reducing the length of the validity of visas, the process for obtaining permanent residency has been frozen

2017: Israel announces plans to limit the travel of those arriving in Ben-Gurion airport to the Palestinian Occupied Territories.

2016: NGO ‘Funding Transparency’ Law

Israel begins plans to pass a law that will ban the Muslim call for prayer on loudspeakers between 23:00 and 07:00.

People protest in Gaza against the new Israeli law to ban the Islamic call to prayer in Jerusalem [apaimages]

People protest in Gaza against the new Israeli law to ban the Islamic call to prayer in Jerusalem [apaimages]

Stop-and-Frisk Law – Amendment: The new law allows police to stop and frisk people in case of a reasonable suspicion that he or she is about to commit a violent act. The law was passed amid the recent wave of violence.

Anti-Terror (Counter-Terrorism) Law: This contains broad and vague definitions of terrorism and terrorist organisations often exploited by law enforcement authorities to criminalise legitimate actions of Palestinian citizens of Israel and Palestinian residents of the Occupied Territories.

Expulsion of MKs Law – Amendment: The bill allows for the Israeli Jewish majority in the Knesset to further delegitimise and marginalise the elected political representatives of the Palestinian minority in Israel and to oust Arab MKs and political lists on the basis of purely political and ideological considerations.

2016: NGO “Funding Transparency” Law: This requires NGOs that receive 50 per cent or more of their funding from foreign governments to make it clear in every instance. Organisations that express views critical to the government’s policies, particularly those policies which discriminate against or otherwise harm Palestinians in the Occupied Territories, are the main targets of this law.

Mandatory minimum sentences for convicted stone-throwers – Amendment: A mandatory minimum prison sentence on a convicted stone-thrower or similar acts is set at “one-fifth of the maximum sentence” which equates to either two or four years.

Revoking child allowances from parents of children convicted of security offences: This removes child allowances for parents of a child convicted on criminal charges.

2015- Fines on parents of stone-throwers – Amendment: Direct fines are imposed on the parents of minors convicted of committing an offence listed in the Israeli Penal Code; for example stone-throwing. This discriminates against the parents of Palestinian children within Israel or residents of East Jerusalem brought before Israeli civil courts.

2014-March: Increased Governance and Raising the Qualifying Election Threshold – Bill to Amend Basic Law: The Government: This raises the threshold percentage of votes required for political parties in order to obtain seats in the Knesset to 3.25 per cent. This undermines the parliamentary representation of Palestinian Arabs and prevents Arab parties from contesting the elections within multiple party lists.

Civil Wrongs Law – Amendment: This creates further obstacles to justice and accountability for civilian victims harmed by Israeli security forces in the Occupied Territories.

July- Income Tax Ordinance – Amendment: This grants a 35 per cent tax exemption on donations to institutions that promote “Zionist settlement”. It differentiates between public institutions on political and ideological grounds.

2012 May: Israeli Prisons Ordinance Amendment No. 43: This was passed allowing for restrictions on security prisoners’ access to legal counsel for three months at a time, which can be extended for another three months.

Israeli Prisons Ordinance – Amendment: This allows the Israel Prison Service (IPS) to prohibit prisoners involved in “security crimes” from meeting their lawyers due to suspicion that the meeting will lead to the transfer of information relating to a “terror organisation”. This law targets Palestinian prisoners and Palestinian lawyers.

Anti-Boycott Law: This prohibits the promotion of academic, economic or cultural boycotts of Israeli citizens and organisations and against Israeli institutions or illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank. A civil lawsuit can be filed against anyone who calls for a boycott, namely the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.

[file photo]

[file photo]

Admissions Committees Law: The Admissions Committees Law legalises Committees that operate in small community towns built on state land in the Negev and Galilee. They are permitted to filter on the basis of ethnicity applicants for housing units and plots of land; Arab Palestinians are the main victims of this process.

Citizenship Law: This allows courts to revoke the citizenship of persons convicted of treason, espionage, assisting the enemy in time of war, violating state sovereignty and acts of terrorism. The law was proposed following the arrest and indictment of Arab civil society leader Ameer Makhoul on charges of espionage and has since been used discriminately against Palestinians.

Nakba Law: The Finance Minister can reduce state funding or support to an institution if it holds an event that rejects the existence of Israel as a “Jewish and democratic state” or commemorates “Israel’s Independence Day or the day on which the state was established as a day of mourning.” The law deprives Arab citizens of commemorating the Nakba in a way that is an integral part of their history.

2011Foreign Government Funding Law: This imposes invasive reporting requirements on NGOs, requiring them to submit and publish quarterly reports on any funding received from foreign governments or publicly-funded foreign donors. Palestinian NGOs in Israel and all NGOs which promote Palestinian rights are particularly vulnerable since they do not seek funding from Israeli governmental sources and have limited access to private funding.

Extension of Detention – Criminal Procedure Law: Designed to extend the harsh detention procedures for those suspected of security offences. Again, this law is used exclusively against Palestinians.

Negev Development Authority Law: “Individual settlements” are used to provide individual Jewish Israeli families with potentially thousands of acres of land for their exclusive use. In the Negev, these settlements were seen as part of a plan for “saving” the land.

Image of illegal settlements in the West Bank on 7 February 2017 [Wisam Hashlamoun/Apaimages]

Illegal settlements in the West Bank [Wisam Hashlamoun/Apaimages]

Absorption of Discharged Soldiers Law: Jewish Israeli students living in the NPA will be granted a “compensation package”. Since Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel are exempt from military service they are excluded from receiving these state-allocated benefits and discriminated against on the basis of their national belonging.

Land Ordinance Law: This allows Israel to confiscate land for “public purposes” and has been used to confiscate Palestinian-owned land in Israel.

2010 Termination of Proceedings and Deletion of Records in the Disengagement Plan Law: This exempts anyone who was convicted in relation to their opposition to Israel’s 2005 Gaza disengagement plan from legal sanction, provided they have not received a prison sentence. This established a separate legal process for people who were charged when demonstrating against the Gaza disengagement from those charged for other political demonstrations, thus discriminating on ideological grounds.

Nakba journey - Palestinians fleeing during the Nakba in 1948
More than 1 million Palestinians were displaced in 1948
Relive the journey of Nakba refugees

Regional Councils Law: This law, which grants the Interior Minister absolute power to declare the postponement of the first election of a Regional Council, was passed shortly before elections were due to take place in the Abu Basma Regional Council, which includes ten Arab Bedouin villages in the Negev.

Israel Land Administration Law: Enforced land privatisation, especially of land owned by Palestinian refugees and internally displaced persons, as well as land on which settlements are built in occupied East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights.

The Economic Efficiency Law – Legislative Amendments: Classifying towns, villages and areas as “National Priority Areas” (NPAs), this allows for the allocation of state resources without criteria; 553 Jewish towns and only 4 small Arab villages are classified as NPAs with “A” status.

2009 Economic Efficiency Law: This law stipulates that children who do not receive the vaccinations recommended by the Ministry of Health will no longer be provided with “child allowances”. This mainly affects Arab Bedouin children living in the Negev due to the lack of availability of vaccinations.

Absorption of Discharged Soldiers Law – Amendment No. 7: The benefits package available to Jewish Israelis adding to the already extensive educational benefits package enjoyed by discharged soldiers in Israel is not available for Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel due to them being exempt from military service and so excluded from receiving these state-allocated benefits.

2008 Criminal Procedure Law – Interrogating Suspects – Amendment No. 4: This exempts the police and the Israeli Security Agencies from recording audio and video documentation of interrogations of suspects and is used exclusively against Palestinians.

2006- Criminal Procedure Law: This law removes a number of essential procedural safeguards for detainees suspected of security offences and is used solely against Palestinians.


2003- Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law: This bans the unification of the family where one spouse is an Israeli citizen (usually applied to Palestinian citizens) and the other is a resident of the Occupied Palestinian Territories. An additional amendment in 2007 expanded the ban to include citizens and residents of Iran, Lebanon, Syria and Iraq. Although the law was originally a temporary order, it has been used repeatedly, making it a permanent law.

1998- Hebrew Date Law: The use of the Hebrew calendar in all correspondence and publications issued by the state authorities does not recognise the use of the Islamic calendar.

1994- Knesset Law: In the opening session of the Knesset excerpts from The Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel will be read out to emphasise the exclusive connection of the state to the Jewish people.

The Golan Heights Law: This law is another annexation law which aims to provide a legal defence for the application of Israeli law in the Syrian Golan Heights occupied by Israel since 1967.

Image of Israeli and UN forces at the Golan Heights border [Escla/Wikipedia]

Image of Israeli and UN forces at the Golan Heights border [Escla/Wikipedia]

Interpretation Law: Article 24 states that the Hebrew versions of laws will be the guiding versions, which disregards Article 82 of the Palestine Order-in-Council (1922), which states that both Hebrew and Arabic are official state languages.

1981Public Lands Law (Eviction of Squatters): An amendment to the law, introduced in 2005 expanded the powers of authorities to operate through administrative orders to evacuate land in accordance with the law. The 2005 amendment was aimed against the Arab Bedouin population of the Negev.

1980- Basic Law: Jerusalem, Capital of Israel: “Jerusalem, complete and united, is the capital of Israel” removes any connection for Palestinians and insists that the Occupied East of the city is part of the State of Israel.

1971- Religious Jewish Services Law: Religious councils in Jewish towns, cities and settlements can be established but no parallel law to authorise the establishment of non-Jewish religious councils exists.

1967- Protection of Holy Sites Law: The Ministry of Religious Affairs has declared 135 Jewish sites as holy sites, although Muslim, Christian and Druze holy places have still yet to be recognised as holy sites.

National Planning and Building Law – Limitation of Water, Electricity and Telephone: Article 157A prohibits national utility companies from connecting a building to national electricity, water and telephone networks if it lacks a building permit. This has been used exclusively to dislodge residents from the unrecognised Arab Bedouin villages in the Negev.

National Planning and Building Law: This does not require Council and District Committees to include Arab-Palestinian representatives.

1965– Broadcasting Authority Law: Broadcast programmes must reinforce the Zionist identity of the state of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state and reflect the life of Jews in the Diaspora communities. Arabic language channels must promote the “understanding and peace with the neighbouring states in accordance with the basic goals of the state.”

1960- Basic Law: Israel Lands: The ownership of “Israel lands” cannot be transferred in any manner except to Jews only.

1960- Israel Land Administration Law: The government is able to nominate members to the discriminatory “Israel Land Administration Council” which determines and formulates Israel’s land policy within the state.


1958- Basic Law: The Knesset: Arab political candidates are disqualified from participating in the elections for the Knesset if the existence of the State of Israel as the state of the Jewish people is denied, as well as the democratic nature of the state and incitement to racism.

1953- Jewish National Fund Law: The Jewish National Fund was established in 1901 to collect funds for purchasing land for the exclusive benefit of the Jewish people.

1953- State Education Law: The law establishes separate, independent systems and secular state and state religious schools, to maintain a distinct Jewish community, Jewish culture and Zionist ideology.

1953- Land Acquisition Law (Actions and Compensation): Approximately 93 per cent of the land in Israel is owned by the state. Only 3-3.5 per cent is owned by the Arab population, compared to 48 per cent Arab ownership in 1948.

1952- World Zionist Organisation-Jewish Agency (Status) Law: This law authorises the World Zionist Organisation, the Jewish Agency and other Zionist bodies to function in Israel as quasi-governmental entities to advance the goals of the Zionist project.

1952- Entry into Israel Law: This law governs the entry into Israel of non-citizens of the state. It grants preferential treatment to Oleh [a Jewish person who migrates to Israel under the Law of Return].

1952- Citizenship Law: Article 2(a) of the Citizenship Law stipulates that, “Every emigrant under the Law of Return will become a citizen of Israel as a direct result of the return.” Article 3 of the law deprives Palestinians who were residents of Palestine prior to 1948 of the right to gain citizenship or residence status in Israel.

1950- Law of Return: Every Jew who migrated to Israel automatically became a citizen of the state, no matter where they were born. No comparable law exists to guarantee the rights of Palestinians to migrate or receive citizenship, even if they were born in the area that is now the State of Israel.

1950Absentees’ Property Law: People who were expelled or who fled after November 1947 due to the war, as well as their movable and immovable property, are marked as “absentees”. Property belonging to absentees was placed under the control of the State of Israel and the Absentees’ Property Law was used by Israel to possess land belonging to internal and external Palestinian refugees.

1949- State Stamp Law: The state stamp is placed on all official documents; it consists of the Star of David and the Menorah (candelabrum).

1945– Law and Government Ordinance, Article 18A: designates the official holidays of the state to be Jewish holy days. The only other official state holiday is Israel’s Independence Day.

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  • David Adams

    Part of Israeli and western media’s propaganda campaign against the Palestinian people and their legitimate cause is that Israel and the western media absolutely refuses to differentiate between terrorism and Palestinian legitimate armed resistance.

    The Palestinians have the right under international law to resist occupation, ethnic cleansing, annexation, aggression, and colonization. And Israel as an occupying power cannot justify military force as self defense in territory for which it is responsible for as the occupant. By definition, an aggressor cannot act in defense. Israel is asserting rights that may be consistent with colonial domination but simply do not exist under International Law.

    General Assembly Resolution A/RES/3246 (XXIX) of 29 November 1974:
    Reaffirms the legitimacy of the peoples’ struggle for liberation form colonial and foreign domination and alien subjugation by all available means, including armed struggle; and strongly condemns all Governments which do not recognize the right to self-determination and independence of peoples under colonial and foreign domination and alien subjugation, notably the peoples of Africa and the Palestinian people.

    United Nations General Assembly Resolution A/RES/33/24 of 29 November 1978:
    Reaffirms the legitimacy of the struggle of peoples for independence, territorial integrity, national unity and liberation from colonial and foreign domination and foreign occupation by all available means, particularly armed struggle.”

    The mainstream US media outlets are actively concealing the alarming displays of genocidal racism emanating from Israeli Jewish society. Violence against Palestinians is nothing new. Israel’s ongoing colonial project requires enormous levels of brutality against Palestinians. But this daily reality is only newsworthy when it blows back against Israeli Jews.

  • David Adams


    Actually, it is the United States who is singling out Israel, with $3.1 billion dollars in military aid yearly, that’s over $10 million dollars every single day (more cumulative aid than any other country since WWII) and protecting it from diplomatic
    censure in international forums such as the UN and the ICC. As Americans, you have a special
    responsibility to ensure that your tax dollars stop being used to commit war crimes. This is not about singling out Israel, it’s about holding Israel to the same standard as all countries to comply with international law and leveraging the particular responsibility and influence that you have as American taxpayers to demand change in Israel.

  • David Adams

    How can Israel be democratic when it holds 4.5 million Palestinians under a seemingly
    permanent military occupation without voting rights? All people living under the control of the Israeli government, which in effect includes people in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, Gaza and the Golan Heights, should have rights to full equality and opportunity to vote for the government which ultimately decides their fate.

    Even within Israel ‘proper,’ Israel’s democracy is undermined by the discrimination and emphasis on being a Jewish state rather than a state of all its citizens. There are over 60 laws that, in intention and in effect, discriminate against non-Jews, including barring state funding from institutions that talk about the nakba, the violence against and displacement of Palestinians that began in 1948 with the creation of the state, and the law of return which grants special privileges of citizenship to Jews living around the world and excludes Palestinians from returning to their homes.The far-right government in Israel is becoming increasingly fascist, for example: passing laws that require loyalty litmus tests, undermining judicial authority,
    approving indefinite detention of migrants.

  • David Adams


    Actually, it is the United States who is singling out Israel, with $3.1 billion dollars in military aid yearly, that’s over $10 million dollars every single day (more cumulative aid than any other country since WWII) and protecting it from diplomatic
    censure in international forums such as the UN and the ICC. As Americans, you have a special
    responsibility to ensure that your tax dollars stop being used to commit war crimes. This is not about singling out Israel, it’s about holding Israel to the same standard as all countries to comply with international law and leveraging the particular responsibility and influence that you have as American taxpayers to demand change in Israel.