On Tuesday at dawn, The Israeli Knesset approved in the first reading, 3 laws targeting Palestinian prisoners in occupation prisons, increasing racist practices against the Palestinians in 1948, and also affecting the basic rights of the Palestinian people, by expanding the powers of the occupation army and police in order to achieve “national security goals” for Israel.
The idea of enacting these laws was crystallised after what was known as the “gift of dignity” last May in support of Jerusalem and the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood, and after the escape of 6 Palestinian prisoners from Gilboa prison last September.
These laws came after the failure of the Israeli police to combat nationalist activity, as the Arab citizens of the occupied territories began to demand their rights and support their brothers in the occupied West Bank.
Israeli parties and their internal struggles to lead the right-wing camp, worked to install the government coalition headed by Naftali Bennett or to bring down the government and heading to parliamentary elections in order to restore Benjamin Netanyahu as a prime minister.
The intensification of the internal conflict in the Israeli right-wing camp accelerated the enactment of more racist and discriminatory laws against the Palestinians. Under the pretext of combating violence and crime and the loss of control over internal security in light of the chaos of arms in Arab towns, the Knesset approved a law allowing the Israeli police to conduct searches without a court order, as applied in accordance with criminal law regulations.
The amendment to the Criminal Law, initiated by Minister of Justice Gideon Sa’ar, and approved by a majority of 60 and opposed by 58 Knesset members, allows the Israeli police and the occupation army to storm Arab homes and search them without a court order.
This exceeded all legal norms in the world, as the Israeli police became enjoying the powers exercised by the Israeli army in the West Bank.
Under the pretext of preserving “national security” and promoting Israeli security objectives, a clause was approved allowing the Israeli army to send reinforced special forces to the police, the Prime Minister’s office and the ministries, in the context of performing civilian tasks according to what the law called “serving national security objectives,” provided that work is completed under this law until the end of 2024, subject to extension.
In a related context; According to Prime Minister Bennett’s statement, another new legal amendment provides for the strengthening of the Prison Service with soldiers from the Israeli army, under the “Security Services” law; In order to take revenge on the prisoners after escaping from Gilboa prison. The amendment to the law aims to harshen the prison conditions for Palestinian prisoners, legitimize their oppression, and deprive them of their most basic rights. It was approved by a majority of 60 members to 59, as the Joint Arab List opposed it, while deputies of the United List and Arab representatives in Israeli parties supporting the government coalition headed by Bennett supported it.
Under Clause No. (9) of the Security Services Law, the powers of work will be expanded by an order allowing the prison service to be reinforced with soldiers from combat units and members of the IDF reserve units, provided that these amendments are implemented until the end of December 2024.
We stress that the aim of the amendments to the laws affect the Palestinians of 48 and take away their basic rights, and to cover up the inaction of the Israeli police with organized crime gangs and the chaos of arms.
On the other hand, these laws come in the context of internal conflicts among the right-wing parties, and are passed with the support of the United List deputies and Arab Knesset members from Israeli parties, “which is a strike for the 48 Palestinians and a stab in the back for the prisoners.”
We believe that the amendment to the Criminal Code is in order to take revenge on and terrorize Arab citizens, whether because of their political stances or their societal activism and national activities, so that Arab towns and homes will be stormed according to the wishes of the police.
We warn of the repercussions of the amendments to the criminal law under the pretext of “combating violence and crime” in Arab towns, and point out that this will unleash police officers by storming Arab homes, institutions and shops without a court order and without any oversight or legal reference.