“Stop-and-Frisk” Law - Amendment No. 5 to the Power for Maintaining Public Security Law

Civil and Political Rights

The law expands the powers of the police to stop and frisk individuals. Previously, the police were permitted to stop and frisk a person only where there was a reasonable suspicion that he or she was carrying a concealed weapon or other object intended for use in criminal activity. 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. It therefore significantly expands police powers to stop and frisk individuals based on far more general suspicions. The law also authorizes police to frisk any person present in an area declared temporarily as a “stop-and-frisk zone” by a district chief of police, for reasons including potential security threats [suspicion of terrorism].

The law was originally tabled in 2011 but did not pass into law at that time. It was revived during the recent round of violence. This context adds to fears that the law will create greater scope for the discriminatory use of these sweeping powers by the police to conduct arbitrary and invasive searches of Palestinians, particularly in East Jerusalem, as well as against members of other marginalized groups.

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