“I instructed Cabinet Secretary Avichai Mendelbit, along with Interior Minister Gilad Erdan, to submit draft legislation to revoke rights from residents who participate in terrorism or incitement against the State of Israel,” said the prime minister at a cabinet meeting on Sunday. “This law is important in order to exact a price from those who engage in attacks and incitement, including the throwing of stones and firebombs, and it complements the demolition of terrorists’ homes, and helps to create deterrence.”
The grab bag of punitive laws comes after unrest in Jerusalem, where a series of attacks have claimed the lives of several Israeli citizens, along with the lives of most of the Palestinian attackers and suspects. Most recently five Israelis—four rabbis and one Druze police officer—were killed in a West Jerusalem synagogue on November 18, 2014. There has also been violence in the West Bank. Lately, one Palestinian was killed and two others injured in the northern West Bank village of Barta’a after they were ran over by an Israeli bus.
The deterrence measures are aimed at Palestinians, regardless of their citizenship status, who committed or intend to commit acts of violence against Israeli citizens. Moreover, the law punishes crimes based on ethnicity. While the bill would apply to Palestinian citizens of Israel and Palestinian residents of the West Bank and Jerusalem, equally—irrespective of status—Jewish-Israelis who engage in violence against Palestinians are exempt from the sanctions.
The Israeli outlet Ynet published a rundown of the bill, which was presented as an “eight-step plan,”
Israeli Arabs caught engaging or cooperating with terror will automatically lose their citizenship – or Palestinian Authority residency, in the case of Palestinians.
After completing their prison term, terrorists will be deported from Israel.
- Those killed during their attempt to conduct a terror attack will not receive a funeral.
- The body of terrorists will not be transferred to their families, and will be buried in an unknown location, without ceremony and without future access for their families
- Terrorists’ houses will be destroyed within 24-hours of the attack
- Masked stone throwers and those inciting for terror and violence participating in illegal protests in which firebombs or fireworks were thrown will be arrested and held in remand until the completion of legal procedures against them. The same measures will be taken against those who waved an ‘enemy flag’ during the protests, including the Palestinian flag. Anyone convicted at the end of their remand will lose their social welfare benefits and driving license for a 10 year period.
- Families of terrorists will lose their citizenship and will be deported to Gaza should they express support for their relative’s deed. Support, according to the bill, can be expressed through public or social media.
The bill also includes a clause that would close businesses and printing presses that print posters that support terror or terrorists.
The deterrence law would mark a sea change in how Palestinian citizens of Israel are punished in that it enshrines punitive treatment that is applied based on national identity, separating them from Israeli-Jews. But as with other security measures passed to quell the Jerusalem unrest, they are revisions from an earlier era. Components of the policy are rooted in Israeli military code that governs Palestinians in the occupied territories. For instance, temporary security holds on the remains of Palestinian attackers were commonplace during the first and second intifada across the West Bank.
Moreover, a policy of expulsions outside of Israel is rooted in the period leading up to the Oslo Accords when then Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin ordered 400 Palestinians bussed over the northern border to Lebanon. That measure was challenged in Israel’s high court and ultimately approved in 1992. Reporting for the New York Times, Clyde Haberman covered the deportation as a midnight run where the Palestinians were dumped with money and rations. “Handed $50 each, along with some food, jackets and blankets, the Palestinians from both the West Bank and Gaza were taken on a wintry night into the ‘security zone’ that Israel has declared in southern Lebanon,” wrote Haberman.
International law forbids the transfer of persons outside of occupied territory as a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, to which Israel is a signatory.
On Thursday Haaretz reported the Swiss government is working to assemble a conference in Geneva, similar to the 1999 review on Israel’s violations of the agreement. According to Haaretz, the U.S. has attempted to prevent the event, as it did in 1999. The Fourth Geneva Convention does not include regulations on enforcement.