Israeli Knesset advances security bills that threaten Palestinian citizens' rights

Israeli Knesset advances security bills that threaten Palestinian citizens' rights
One of the bills, which seeks to strengthen jail authorities, could endanger Palestinian citizens of Israel, since the community is disproportionately imprisoned.
2 min read
14 December, 2021
The United Arab List, a governing coalition member, backed the bills [Getty]

The Israeli parliament advanced on Tuesday three bills seeking to increase the powers of its security and prison authorities, measures that could disproportionately affect the state's Palestinian citizens.

The Knesset approved the first reading of one bill, which would permit the country's police force to break into, search homes and confiscate cameras without requiring a court order.

When the measure was brought to a vote, Israeli Justice Minister Gideon Saar alleged the measure was "important" to deal with "violence and crime" among Israel's Palestinian community.

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The Knesset also gave a first reading to the proposed Security Service Bill, Amendment 9, which seeks to strengthen the prison service and allow "army graduates" without the otherwise necessary qualifications to be employed in the sector.

Recent studies have shown that Palestinian citizens of Israel are imprisoned at a disproportionately high rate. Palestinian homes are often subject to raids by the Israeli security forces, with the alleged aim of "curbing violent protests" or searching for "wanted suspects".

A third bill, Amendment 7 of the Security Service/Military law, was also advanced through the legislative process.

The bill would allow Israeli army soldiers to reinforce the country's police service, but not its border police.

Despite the damage the three bills could cause Israel's Palestinian citizens, the United Arab List, also known as Raam, which is part of the current coalition government, voted for them.

The Joint List, an alliance made up of predominantly Arab opposition parties, which the United Arab List broke away from, voted against the measures.