Knesset Round Up | June 3, 2018
Urban planning and building in the West Bank; Police Violence; The Medical Institute for Road Safety; Planning Policy in the Negev; Medical Tourism; “Search Law”; Amendment to the “Boycott Bill"
Urban planning and building in the West Bank
Strategic control of the Palestinian Authority over Area C
Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee; The Secondary Committee on Judea and Samaria | Sunday, 3.6.2018 at 10:15am | Discussion
This Knesset discussion is partially closed to the public. To the best of our knowledge, the primary topics of conversation were illegal building in Area C and the enforcement efforts of the Civil Administration. This was also the official topic of the conversation, until it was changed to the above.
ACRI’s Position: Planning and building policy in the West Bank, and in particular in Area C, are intended to further develop settlements and push out Palestinians. The Civil Administration prevents the development of Palestinian towns through refusing to both grant building permits and create master plans, or, alternatively, approving of master plans that are discriminatory towards Palestinians. As a result, Palestinians have no choice but to build without permits. On a yearly basis, there are hundreds of Palestinians who are left without a roof over their head due to demolitions of illegally built homes. Additionally, because there are no master plans for Palestinian villages in Area C, residents are unable to connect basic infrastructure such as electricity and water. Palestinian solutions to this problem, such as solar panels, are in return confiscated or demolished by the Civil Administration.
Negev Hall | Monday, 4.6.2018 at 9:30am | Conference
Following recent police violence against Israeli citizens from various demographics, the Group Against Police Violence, headed by MK Ilan Gilon, invites the public to an emergency discussion on the topic. People in attendance will include MKs, coalition representatives, victims of police violence, and civil society organizations.
ACRI’s Position: ACRI regularly deals with a variety of topics and issues relating to police violence. These include: the State Attorney’s Department of Internal Police Investigations’ investigation of complaints, police response to disciplinary offenses, police profiling of vulnerable populations, identification requests that constitute intimidation, non-identification of police officers, and more.
The Medical Institute for Road Safety
The Medical Institute for Road Safety’s procedures and fees- follow up
The Special Committee for Public Inquiries | Monday, 4.6.2018 at 11:00am | Discussion
ACRI’s Position: Every year, doctors report thousands of drivers to the Medical Institute for Road Safety (MIRS) in order to examine the drivers’ qualifications. Reported drivers, some of whom are disabled and live on state stipends alone, are required to deal with complex bureaucratic systems over a long period of time and pay high fees for every step of the process in order to receive their licenses in return. Additional to the MIRS fees, drivers have to pay high lawyers’ fees, as the state does not provide state-appointed attorneys for meetings with MIRS committees.
Because MIRS decisions are not transparent, people whose licenses are revoked are uninformed as to why the decision was made and therefore limited in their ability to appeal the decision. MIRS has only two branches, in Tel Aviv and Haifa, which are open only twice a week for two hours at a time. After years of critique of the management of MIRS, it is time for a real change.
Planning Policy in the Negev
Application of Government Decision Number 748 from 22.11.2015 on “Building 5 New Towns in the Negev”
Internal Affairs and Environment Committee | Monday 4.6.2018 at 11:00am | Discussion
ACRI’s Position (along with Bimkom- Planners for Planning Rights and Negev Coexistence Forum for Civil Equality): The plan to build 5 new communities in the Negev has wide ranging impacts on the Negev’s future in general and on the Bedouin population in particular. The organizations object to the program and call for it to be halted. Simultaneously, the organizations call on the Knesset to act, expand and strengthen the towns in the Negev that already exist and need support. Additionally, we call on the Knesset to recognize and plan the unrecognized Bedouin towns that are in desperate need of recognition, planning and development. For more read here.
Proposed bill: Medical Tourism, 2017; 2. Proposed bill: Regulation of Medical Tourism in Israel 2016; Agenda: Chapter 4- Obligations of Medical Institutions that Treat Medical Tourists
Labor, Welfare and Health Committee | Tuesday, 5.6.2018 at 9:30am | Preparation for 2nd and 3rd readings
ACRI’s Position (Along with the Adva Center and Physicians for Human Rights): The organizations oppose any type of medical tourism in Israeli hospitals. The medical system in Israel is lacking in resources (beds for hospitalization, doctors and the like), and medical tourism negatively impacts the system at the taxpayers’ expense. This is similar to the issue with private medical treatment, that, due to the above reasons, hasn’t expanded beyond what is considered acceptable.
As long as there is medical tourism in Israel, it should be regulated such that all patients’, both Israeli and tourist, rights are secured. The current iteration of the proposed law lacks any mechanism for ensuring the continued accessibility availability, and quality of medical service to every sick Israeli.
The proposed bill not only ignores the current lack of resources available at Israeli hospitals, an issue that has plagued system for years, but also, will exacerbate this issue. If there were unutilized resources and reserves in the system, then medical tourism would have a positive economic impact. However, in reality there are an insufficient number of beds, human power, and examination and treatment options, thus there is no economic benefit to medical tourism as the cost of providing this service significantly outweigh the marginal gains. It is very likely that even closely regulated medical tourism will lead to longer wait time for sick Israelis and an increased burden on an already overburdened system.
Regardless of the aforementioned concerns, the proposed law is missing a number of concrete frameworks that would prevent resources from leaking out of the public system to medical tourism patients. For example, the proposed law does not set quotas or any quantitative restrictions – such as the number of medical tourists who can be in a hospital, department or with a doctor at a given time – that could prevent this sort of resource drainage.
Proposed bill: Criminal Proceedings (Powers of Enforcement- Finding, Search and Seizure), 2014, Preparation for 2nd and 3rd readings
Constitution, Law and Justice Committee | Tuesday, 5.6.2018 at 12:30pm | Preparation for 2nd and 3rd reading
The proposed bill would regulate the search and seizure laws of Israeli law enforcement agencies. The law would create a wide ranging reform in all matters relating to police search, including: asking citizens to hand over documents and items during an investigation, seizing evidence or items in crime investigations, and computer searches. This week, the discussion on articles 2-12 of the proposed bill will continue.
ACRI’s Position: A unified and coherent system of search and seizure laws are vital, given the potential for violating human rights. However, this proposed bill expands police search powers and permits police too wide a range for violating privacy, without setting enough limitations that would prevent the exploitation and violation of individual’s rights. The problematic regulations specifically include: hidden searches of homes, searches based on suspicion of future (and not yet committed) crimes, searches of a non-suspect, computer searches, potential violation professional confidentiality, and more.
Amendment to the “Boycott Bill”
Proposed bill: The Prevention of Injury to the State of Israel via Boycott (Amendment- Compensation without Proof of Damages) 2017- preparation for the first reading
Constitution, Law and Justice Committee | Wednesday 6.6.2018 at 9:00am | Preparation for first reading
The amendment proposes imposing a fine of 100,000 NIS on anyone who systematically calls for boycott, without requiring proof of damages caused by the call for boycott.
ACRI’s Position: ACRI opposes the proposed amendment. ACRI was a partner in the petition to the High Court of Justice against the “Boycott Bill”, claiming that it violates the right to freedom of expression and therefore is unconstitutional. The HCJ dismissed the lawsuit almost entirely, determining that the law does not violate the core right of freedom of expression and that the state can legitimately deny benefits to someone who calls for boycott. However, the nine specially appointed judges did invalidate Article 2(c) of the law which called for compensation without proof of damages. The judges wrote that this article went too far, disproportionately violated the right to freedom of expression, and will cause a chilling effect on free political speech. Despite this decision, the government has decided to promote a private bill to renew that article.