Israel passes new ‘anti-terrorism’ law, opposition slams it as violating human rights

GERMAN PRESS AGENCY - DPA
TEL AVIV
Published 16.06.2016 12:54
Updated 16.06.2016 12:59
Israeli army soldiers are seen during a night raid as they purportedly arrested Palestinian Abed Abu Eram, in Yatta, south of the city of Hebron, The West Bank, 15 June 2016. (EPA)
Israeli army soldiers are seen during a night raid as they purportedly arrested Palestinian Abed Abu Eram, in Yatta, south of the city of Hebron, The West Bank, 15 June 2016. (EPA)

Opposition lawmakers slammed the law as anti-democratic and violating human rights.

Israel passes new 'anti-terrorism' law, opposition slams it as violating human rights

Israel has passed a new "anti-terrorism" law, which the right-wing government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says strengthens the fight against terrorism, but critics call "anti-democratic."

Among others, a "terrorist" sentenced to life imprisonment can no longer have his sentence reduced during the first 15 years, Israel Radio reported Thursday. Also, for the first time, tunnel-digging is defined as a criminal offence.

The Law Combating Terrorism - initiated by the far-right Jewish Home coalition party - passed two final readings in Israel's 120-seat parliament late Wednesday, with 57 lawmakers voting in favour and 16 against, a Knesset statement said.

The rest either abstained or were not present.

The law sets harsher punishments for "terrorists" - including longer minimum and maximum jail sentences - and grants broader liberties to law enforcement agents to combat terrorism.

It replaces a series of older laws, clauses in older laws and emergency regulations.

One example of a harsher punishment is a maximum prison sentence of seven years for anyone who threatens to carry out a crime that carries a life sentence.

The law also defines as a new "terrorist" offence, calling for a "terrorist act," without previous stipulations that there must be a "real possibility" that the act will be implemented as a direct result of the call.

It also allows Israel's defence minister to confiscate the property of security offenders.

Jewish Home lawmaker Nissan Slomiansky said security officials, including of the Shin Bet internal security organization, had helped formulate the new law.

Opposition lawmakers slammed the law as anti-democratic and violating human rights.

"We should uproot the motivation for terrorism and what fuels the factory that creates motivation for terrorism is the occupation," said Zahava Galon of the left-liberal Meretz party.

"I don't mean, heaven forbid, to justify terrorism," she said, but while fighting terrorism "we must not sacrifice basic values."

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter