Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Knesset proposes bill to criminalise documenting IDF soldiers

By Alicia Ramos Perez - June 04, 2018
Section: [Main News]
Tags: [IDF] [Israeli government] [Israeli law]

Just after worldwide condemnation of Israel’s brute force over Palestinian people in Gaza, the Israeli parliament have proposed a bill that would potentially prohibit the documenting or photographing of IDF soldiers on duty.

This meeting was held just a few weeks after one the deadliest attacks in the Gaza Strip by the IDF since 2014.
According to Israeli media, the bill - “Prohibition against photographing and documentation of Israeli soldiers” - was proposed on May 25 by the MK of Yisrael Beytenu, Robert Ilatov.
It was supported by the right- wing Minister of Israeli Defence, Avigor Lieberman, stating that “for many years now, the state of Israel has witnessed a worrying phenomenon of documentation of IDF soldiers.”
The legislative proposal condemns those who are found photographing or filming Israeli soldiers that “purposely undermine the morale of IDF soldiers and residents of Israel.”
The bill would penalise the individuals documenting the soldiers with up to five years of prison. Robert Ilatov also added that “anyone intending to harm state security will be sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment.”
The distribution of the video or photo content through social networks or media outlets could also be prohibited under this bill.
The proposer of the bill, Robert Ilatov, claimed the bill is a response to “the harassment by left-wing operatives.” He then added; “it's time to put an end to this absurdity. We have a responsibility to provide Israeli soldiers with optimal conditions for carrying out their duties, without having to worry about a leftist or organization who might publish their picture to shame and disgrace them.”
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) have denounced the proposal through a recent statement published on May 30.
The IFJ’s General Secretary, Anthony Bellanger stated the “legislative proposal must by no means become a law. It constitutes a serious breach of the freedom of the press, as it precisely criminalises the work of journalists.” He then added “censorship should not be enshrined in law, and it is media workers’ duty to inform the public.”
Currently, the IFJ has backed up the statement of the Palestinian Journalist Syndicate (PCJ). On May 26, the PCJ also released a statement calling the proposed bill “racist” and that it “severely attacks the profession of the press and legitimizes the criminal practices committed by the Israeli occupation army against the Palestinian people.”
This bill would grant legitimacy to the occupation carried out by Israel, as it would allow the cover up of the crimes committed by IDF soldiers. “The PJS […] emphasizes that the core of the law is to mislead justice and provide a formal cover for further crimes.”
In response to the growing international criticisms towards the violation of human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories, the Israeli government has developed a continuing implementation of right-wing policies.

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