"Anti-Terror" (Counter-Terrorism) Law

Criminal Law and ProceduresCivil and Political RightsFreedom of Association

The “Counter-Terrorism” bill sprawls over 104 pages. It contains broad and vague definitions of terrorism and terrorist organizations, which may be exploited by the law enforcement authorities to criminalize legitimate political action by Palestinian citizens of Israel and Palestinian residents of the OPT. The law entrenches many emergency regulations, which are currently in effect, and which date back to the British Mandatory period. The government has recently used the emergency regulations to arbitrarily outlaw the Islamic Movement in Israel.

The law includes draconian measures for investigating detainees accused of security offenses; provides for the extensive use of secret evidence in court; limits detainees’ access to judicial review; lowers the evidentiary requirements of the state in such cases; creates new criminal offenses, including for any public expression of support for or sympathy with a terrorist group; and sharply increases the maximum sentences for people convicted of security offenses. It is liable to result in serious human rights violations and to further undermine democratic principles in Israel.

The law substantially strengthens and expands the powers of the police and the General Security Services (GSS, or Shabak/Shin Bet) to suppress legitimate protest activities by Palestinian citizens of Israel and Palestinian residents of the OPT. It adds to a pre-existing system that provides fertile ground for the security agencies to employ illegal methods in the interrogation room, which includes a “temporary order” that exempts the security agencies from producing audio or visual documentation of interrogations of security detainees. The Knesset extended this order, which creates conditions that may facilitate the torture of security suspects during interrogation, in July 2015, for the third time.

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