Knesset Roundup | February 18



To receive the Knesset Roundup directly to your email, click here.

Counter-Terrorism Legislation vs. Democracy

Counter-Terrorism Bill – 2011

Constitution, Law and Justice Committee

Monday, 17/02/14 | Preparation for a Second & Third Reading


ACRI’s Position: ACRI naturally appreciates the importance of effectively combating terrorism. Preventing terrorist activities lies at the forefront of the state’s duty to protect its citizens, and it is appropriate that the state be granted significant powers to this end. However, the challenge in a democracy is to confront terrorism, while preserving human rights and fundamental democratic principles, which are the basis of a nation’s existence. This bill, in its current form, seeks to normalize, and in some cases aggravate, draconian emergency provisions and defence regulations dating back to the British Mandate. The broad and ambiguous definitions included within the bill and the wide-ranging powers it grants to authorities, creates a dangerous pattern where human rights considerations are disregarded.
Some of the key concerns within this bill include:

  • Setting broad and sweeping definitions of such terms as “terrorist organization”, “member of a terrorist organization” and “terror act”, that could be applied to people and organizations that are not engaged in terrorism;
  • Permanently enshrining in legislation the State’s extreme authority to administratively detain people and restrict their free movement through restraining orders;
  • Incorporating new criminal offences that unnecessarily violate freedom of expression;
  • The extensive use of classified materials in a variety of procedures, in violation of the right to due process;

Additional Materials
Further background on this bill and a more comprehensive list of its dangerous provisions.
ACRI’s Position Paper that was sent to the members of the Ministerial Committee on Legislative Affairs

Jerusalem: The Forgotten (Eastern) Neighbourhoods


The Absence of Municipal Services for Neighbourhoods Beyond the Separation Barrier

Public Petitions Committee

Wednesday 12/02/14 | Committee Discussion


ACRI’s Position: Eight metre high concrete walls separate several Palestinian neighbourhoods in North-East Jerusalem from the rest of the city. According to estimates, more than 50,000 residents are located within these neighbourhoods, which fall within the city’s municipal boundaries, and whose residents possess Israeli identity cards. However, in order to access the rest of their city and gain access to goods and services, these residents must every day pass through onerous checkpoints.
Since the construction of the separation barrier was completed, these areas have turned into lawless districts, where the authorities’ responsibilities towards the city residents are completely disregarded. Basic services such as garbage collection, street cleaning and road re-furbishing are provided intermittently or are completely absent, and sewage and water infrastructure has collapsed. There are insufficient schools in the neighbourhood to cater for all of the children, and playgrounds or parking bays are a distant memory. In the absence of any police presence, there has been a steep rise in crime. Requests for assistance to municipal departments and government agencies are ignored.
A number of years ago, the High Court of Justice approved the route of the separation barrier in this area on the condition that the State ensures the continuity of the normal fabric of life for neighbourhood residents. In reality, this promise is violated on a daily basis.
Additional Material
ACRI’s comprehensive report – Neglect & Suppression in East Jerusalem
ACRI’s High Court of Justice Petition to improve postal services in East Jerusalem

Prison is Not a Place for Children


Alternatives to Detention for Children of Migrant Workers

Committee on the Rights of the Child & the Committee on Foreign Workers

Monday, 10/02/14 | Joint Committee Discussion


ACRI’s Position: In the past year, over 200 children of foreign workers and asylum-seekers have been imprisoned in Israel. This includes children waiting for a decision regarding their application for refugee status, children who can not be deported to their country of origin, children awaiting deportation, and more. ACRI believes that the variety of purposes for which children are imprisoned in Israel can be achieved through other, less harmful methods. Yet the detention of children has become the State’s default method in dealing with children without legal status, many of whom experience harsh conditions in detention and suffer devastating emotional effects.
Many countries dealing with migration issues have developed positive alternatives to detention that can be implemented in any case involving children, including: community living under the supervision of a social worker, welfare officer or psychologist and with regular orders to appear before the authorities or with other restrictive conditions placed upon them; residence in family centres run by social services instead of law enforcement agencies; and boarding schools and orphanages. These alternatives to detention create favourable conditions for the child and the family until the authorities make a final decision on their status or deportation proceedings are executed. Additionally, the experience of other countries offering these alternatives show that they are cheaper than keeping them in prison.
Additional Materials
New Study: 83% of detained migrant children and parents exhibit post-traumatic symptoms

Students Dropping Out of School in East Jerusalem


Education, Culture & Sport Committee

Monday, 10/02/14 | Committee Discussion


ACRI’s Position: Approximately 36% of children in East Jerusalem do not attend school, a percentage significantly higher than the national average. There are a broad variety of reasons for this statistic, but the key contributing factor is the failures of the various authorities – the Jerusalem municipality, the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Social Affairs. A stark shortage of schools and educational institutions for all ages, the poor quality of principals and teaching staff, a serious lack of educational consultants, and poverty forcing students to leave school to help their families earn a living – all these are common factors that contribute to the high drop out rate, yet the various municipal and national authorities have failed to adequately confront them. In order to confront this phenomenon, the budgets for departments dealing with drop out rates in East Jerusalem neighbourhoods need to be substantially increased, lower targets need to set and multi-year, multi-discipline strategies need to be developed and enforced.
Additional Materials
ACRI and Ir Amin Report – Failing Education System in East Jerusalem

In the Spotlight:


Finally – Residency to be Granted to 221 Children of Migrants

Tuesday, February 10


On February 10, 2014, Interior Minister Gideon Sa’ar announced that the residency applications of 221 children of migrants would be granted.
In 2010, as a result of a multi-year effort led by Israeli Children in cooperation with several human rights organizations including the Hotline for Refugees and Migrants and the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), the government decided to grant residency status to children of migrants that met certain criteria, such as the child’s parent having entered into Israel legally and the child being fluent in Hebrew. Some 700 children who met these criteria applied.
Rotem Ilan, Israeli Children project coordinator at ACRI: “Ever since the government’s 2010 decision, these children have lived in continuous uncertainty and trepidation. Now, after a four year struggle, they are finally legal residents in the country they were born into, which has become their only home… Now we hope that a fair immigration policy will be established in Israel – one that includes recognition of the rights of migrant workers that Israel decided to bring here.”


  • Print
  • email
  • RSS
  • Tumblr
  • Reddit
  • Twitter
  • Facebook

Categories: East Jerusalem, Anti-Democratic Initiatives, Child Rights, Migrant Workers, Provision of Services, Right to Education, Separation Barrier and Freedom of Movement

Tags: |

Comments are closed.