Israel’s Ministerial Committee for Legislation is expected to approve a draft bill on Sunday that aims to ban the documentation of Israeli soldiers’ treatment of Palestinians by human rights groups.
The legislation would prohibit the “documentation and distribution of any report about confrontations between Israeli soldiers and Palestinians with the intent either to harm national security or to ‘break the spirit of Israeli soldiers and inhabitants’”, reported Haaretz.
The law, proposed by MK Robert Ilatov of Yisrael Beitenu, enjoys support from faction head Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman and the Kulanu party, headed by Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon.
According to Haaretz, “the proposal calls for a maximum five-year prison term for anyone photographing, recording or distributing Israel Defense Forces activity on social media with the aim of hurting the ‘soldiers’ spirit’”. “The maximum term increases to 10 years imprisonment for those convicted of seeking to harm national security”, the paper adds.
“For many years the state of Israel has witnessed a worrisome phenomenon in which IDF soldiers are being documented”, states the bill proposal’s explainer.
“Via video, stills photography and audio recordings by anti-Israeli and pro-Palestinian groups such as B’Tselem, the women of Machsom Watch, Breaking the Silence and various BDS groups…Such documentation generally interferes with ongoing and operational IDF duties, sometimes accompanied by insults shouted at them”, it continued.
B’Tselem said in response:
If occupation embarrasses the government then it should take steps to end it. Visual documentation of life under occupation shall continue. It’s a fact of life that no stupid bill will succeed in changing.