World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


A Special "Gush Shalom Law"?

Press release September 2, 2002

== == == == == == == =
-- The Attorney General: No basis to prosecute Gush Shalom
-- The Minister of Justice: We will consider legislation to put the Gush Shalom activists on trial
-- At the same time: a beginning of a more critical general public
-- Well-known legal expert Moshe Hanegbi: special legislation could overturn the rule of law.
= == == == == == == ==

-- Today, Attorney General, Elyakim Rubinstein - after having been repeatedly pressured by the government to start procedures against Gush Shalom - was quoted as saying that he doesn't see any legal basis for such a step. We are happy but not surprised at hearing this news. We never had a doubt that warning officers about violations of international law was a completely legal act, and that the true offenders were those responsible for the bombings and shootings which ended in the killing of civilians.

-- Matters do not, however, rest with the AG's decision. Meir Sheetrit, Minister of Justice, seems determined to put Gush Shalom activists on trial, and if existing legislation will not serve his purpose he intends to introduce some brand-new bills. The minister's intention has been announced at noon via Y-Net* (the website of Israel's mass distribution daily Yediot Aharonot) and continues to fill the electronic media programs - also giving our people the opportunity to answer. The minister did not go into details, so we are left in doubt as to his exact intent: A law forbidding Israeli citizens to collect evidence of violations of International Law? A prohibition on warning officers against the possible consequences of such violations? It would certainly be a preposterous and unprecedented law - but then, quite a few preposterous and unprecedented things already happened here...

-- We have the impression that the effort of the Minister of Justice to extend his campaign against us beyond the Attorney Generals' conclusion has much to do with the general situation. In the past weeks the public atmosphere in Israel is gradually changing. After many months of giving uncritical support to whatever the army and the government chose to do, the mainstream media is starting to ask sharp questions, especially regarding the series of incidents ("regrettable accidents" as the army put it) which claimed the lives of fifteen innocent Palestinian civilians, including four children, over just a few days. Defence Minster Ben Eliezer, facing the challenge of the dovish Amram Mitzna for the Labour Party leadership, felt obliged to appoint a special investigator and demand an account from the army command. Also, Army Chief-of-Staff Yaalon came under strong fire in the press for his lashing out at "the enemy within" (Ha'aretz August 31) - attempting to deligitimise all wartime dissent and criticism of the army. Moreover, there has been a stream of revelations about widespread looting in the Palestinian towns occupied by the army in April and again since June - no surprise to hardcore peace and human rights activists, but virtually the first which the general Israeli public heard of such things, and also the first time that the reports are bolstered by firs t- hand testimonies of some of the soldiers themselves.

The change in public atmosphere has to be seen also against the background of the halt in suicide bombings inside Israel. It is now precisely a month since the last such bombing, which happened on August 4. The halt in suicide bombings is the official policy of the Palestinian Authority, and so far also the radical factions such as Hamas observe it in practice. It is however doubtful whether the Palestinian factions will be able to continue with the wise restraint policy in the face of the bloody provocations of the past days - and with no end in sight of the curfews, the closures, the occupation.

-- Today, on Israeli radio (Reshet Bet), the well-known legal commentator Moshe Negbi praised the Attorney General for his decision not to start proceedingas against Gush Shalom. He sharply condemned the intended special legislation of the Justice Minister, saying that such legislation might completely overturn the rule of law in Israel. "The perception of reporting violations of law as 'informing' is fitting for a persecuted community in a ghetto which regards police as the enemy, or to an underground. It is completely unfitting for a sovereign democratic state."


© Scoop Media

World Headlines


Euro-Med Monitor: Sudan Military Coup Shatters Democratic Path, Threatens With Authoritarian Rule Return
The Sudanese army's seizure of power in the country diminishes the hard-won human rights and civil gains achieved after the December 2018 protests, Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor said today in a statement...More>>

Weather: Pacific Likely To Experience Double Dip La Niña Episode

The Pacific is likely to experience a rare occurrence of what is called a double dip La Niña in the coming months, Climate models and predictions tools used by Pacific National Meteorological and Hydrological services (NMHSs) show...

CNS: Will India's 1 Billion Vaccination-dose-milestone Be Catalytic For Vaccinating All?

On 21 October 2021, India crossed its milestone of administering over 1 billion (100 crores) doses within 278 days since it began the vaccination rollout (on 16th January 2021)... More>>

Focus On: UN SDGs

Pacific: Young Climate Leaders Call For Urgent Climate Action Ahead Of COP26

Eight Pacific Young Climate Leaders shared their experiences of climate resilience and activism in an inaugural dialogue with the Pacific Islands Forum Secretary General, Mr Henry Puna on 21 October 2021... More>>

UN: With Clock Ticking, Sustainable Transport Key To Global Goals
From electric cars and buses to zero-carbon producing energy sources, new and emerging technologies along with innovative policy changes, are critical for combating climate change. But to be effective, they must ensure that transport strategies benefit everyone, including the poorest... More>>

COP26: 7 Climate Action Highlights To Remember

A September to remember, a pivotal month for climate action commitments. From the United Nations General Assembly week to the final pre-COP meeting, last month was an important time to build momentum... More>>