Ma’an News Agency | – –
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — A controversial new anti-terrorism law passed the Israeli Knesset on Wednesday, according to Israeli newspaper Haaretz, which will grant the Israeli state far-reaching powers in cases of suspected “terrorism,” in a move a member of the Joint List called “draconian and unacceptable.”
According to Haaretz, the new Israeli law would apply only within Israel and includes a provision expanding the definition of terrorist organization membership to include “passive members” who are not actively involved in any group, but can now be indicted by Israeli authorities.
The law also includes a provision that gives the defense minister — currently ultraright Avigdor Lieberman — the power to confiscate property of alleged members of terrorist organizations without getting approval by Israeli courts, Haaretz reported.
All of the Knesset parties voted in favor of the law, with the exception of the left-wing Meretz party and the Joint List.
Haaretz quoted Knesset and Joint List member Ahmad Tibi as saying that the bill was “draconian and unacceptable,” adding: “You can demolish houses, arrest people, deport people, kill them and shoot them when they’re on the ground bleeding… But you can’t suppress a nation’s desire to liberate itself from the occupation.”
The Knesset cited fears of “terrorists” entering Israeli society from the occupied Palestinian territory through the law as reason for its extension for the 13th year.
Rights groups have often conflated Israel’s anti-terrorism legislation with discriminatory policies enacted toward Palestinians that attempt to disrupt Palestinian political processes and create social and political divides among Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip, and those residing in Israel.