Israel Considers Emergency Laws for West Bank after Palestinian State Declaration

This past week, the Ministry for Public Safety submitted plan to impose military or emergency rule over the West Bank in order to deal with possible outbreaks of violence or mass rioting in the wake of tomorrow’s UN vote regarding a state of Palestine and has raised the ire of some members of the Justice Ministry.

The plan, confirmed on Saturday, is part of larger one that is design to deal with expected civil unrest in the West Bank in the wake of an independent Palestinian state.  The plan would severely restrict the rights of anyone detained by the police or military as well as give the police the means to regain control of a hostile situation.

However, some personnel in the Justice Department fear the law goes too far, as it may affect criminal trials which are completely unrelated to any activity in the West Bank and cause harsher punishments to be meted out by the court system.  According to some in the Justice department, the change of the tie between arrest and court appearance and the extension of suspect’s remand would prevent access to a lawyer and violate current civil liberties.


The Public Safety Ministry defended the plan, saying it is necessary in order to quell rioting or other acts of violence that may occur after Monday’s UN vote.  Civil Rights activists such as Dan Yakir of the Association of Civil Rights in Israel, claim otherwise.  According to Yakir, "The plan to pass emergency law regulations is a real example of the potential for seriously harming rights when draconian measures are implemented.”

The plan would also allow the police to detain suspects for up to nine hours rather than current three as well as the ability to use force against anyone being detained.  In addition, forces would be allowed to extend the arrest of an individual for 48 hours so as to allow for a complete police investigation.

As of now, the plan has not been implemented pending those serious concerns regarding civil rights of suspects.  However, it is likely the law will pass in one form or another in order to allow the police to do their job effectively.