Following the terrorist attacks on a Jerusalem synagogue last week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to "respond harshly" to the perpetrators. Considering the new anti-terror plan tabled by MP Yariv Levin at Netanyahu's instigation, it looks like the Israeli leader literally meant what he said.
The proposed package aims at fighting terrorism in Israel and allaying concerns pertaining to security. However, a brief analysis of it suggests that’s not the case.
The bill includes sweeping hardline measures which could potentially strip Arab-Israelis of some of their basic rights. Just to put things into perspective, following are just three of the eight harsh provisions put forward by Levin’s office (as translated by the Washington Post):
- Anyone convicted of carrying out a terrorist attack or who directly assists in the attack will automatically be stripped of Israeli citizenship or residency rights. After serving their prison sentence, they will be expelled to Gaza or any place not under Israeli control.
- Anyone who incites terror attacks, throws stones during demonstrations or illegal gatherings or waves an enemy flag, including the Palestinian Authority flag, will be immediately arrested and will automatically lose their state health and social security benefits and the right to hold a driver’s license for 10 years.
- Any family member who expresses support for terrorists or their actions will have their Israeli citizenship or residency rights revoked and will be deported to Gaza or somewhere not under Israeli control. This support could be expressed through the media, social media or with posters of the terrorist or terrorist activity.
One doesn't need to read twice to comprehend how ethically problematic the provisions are.
According to an editorial published in Haaretz echoes the same concerns:
“It [the bill] embodies in a tragic manner the way the current government operates – instead of dealing with the profound problems generated by terror acts, it wishes to give people a false sense of security by weakening democracy and abusing Israel’s Arab citizens.”
As a leader of a country threatened by terrorists in close proximity, it’s understandable if Netanyahu comes up with desperate extreme measures. But something as evidently unfair as this anti-terror bill is just unacceptable – especially for a country which claims to be one of the most powerful democratic nations in the world.
Read More: Is Israel Committing A Democratic Suicide?