Sunday, August 19, 2018

Knesset advances bill to limit Palestinians from taking petitions to the High Court


By Alicia Ramos Perez - July 17, 2018
TAGS:
Section: [Main News]
Tags: [settlements] [high court] [Israeli High Court] [Israeli law]

According to several Israeli news outlets, the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee approved the first reading of a new law that will limit Palestinians accessing the High Court of Justice.

The limitation will regard cases involving Palestinians living in the West Bank who wish to petition against illegal Jewish settlement construction.
 
The committee of Constitution, Law and Justice approved the government sponsored bill for further readings. The bill would seek to transfer administrative petitions to the Jerusalem District Court instead of the High Court of Justice.
 
In Israel, the same justices sit on both the Supreme Court and the High Court of Justice.
 
The Supreme Court functions as a trial court which involves “issues of justice that do not fall under the jurisdiction of any other court” - mainly meaning that it deals with petitions against the State of Israel.
 
The High Court of Justice is the country’s highest appeal court.
 
Currently, the High Court is the first instance court for Palestinians in the West Bank. This differs to Israelis, which would petition through the District Court rather than the High Court.
 
This bill would transfer West Bank Palestinians to the District Court. Here, they will have the jurisdiction to manage petitions.
 
These regard restraining orders excluding Palestinians from certain regions of the West Bank, travel permits, planning and construction permits and freedom of information petitions.
 
As Haaretz informed, the bill’s aim is to hinder the petitions from the Palestinians against Israeli illegal settlement construction. Most of the petitions made from Palestinians, are against these illegal settlements and demolition of Palestinian land and homes.
 
The main politician sponsoring the bill is Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked. According to Haaretz, she claimed “the bill will put an end to the current discrimination against residents of Judea and Samaria [illegal settlers in the West Bank]. The right of Judea and Samaria residents are no less important than those of citizens living within the Green Line [currently Israel].”
 
The bill will normalise the illegal settlers in the West Bank, giving them the same right and access to the District Court as Israeli citizens within the Green Line. Previously, they only had access to the High Court.
 
The main claim for putting forward this bill, is to reduce the caseload of the High Court. Others claim it is a method to annex more Palestinian territory. MK Yousef Jabareen from joint List suggested; “If you want annexation, go all the way and annex it full.”
 
This coincides with the demolition of the Bedouin village Khan Al-Ahmar, which has been delayed until August 15, according to the Jerusalem Post.
 
Israeli bulldozers have already started to smooth the terrain to prepare for the demolition.
 
Members of the Jahalin Bedouin tribe have sent two petitions to the High Court of Justice, which eventually ruled that their homes would be destroyed by Israel.
 
The High Court also ruled for the destruction of the village school Rubber Tyre, which was built with European funds through and Italian NGO called Vento di Terra. This school is important for all the Bedouin living in the area and serves 170 children.
 
The IDF has declared the area as a closed military zone, however, it is claimed that the demolition serves for the expansion of a nearby Israeli illegal settlement, Kfar Adumin.

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