Instead of giving asylum seekers the benefit of the doubt, as international law prescribes, in Israel, the district courts find doubts, the Supreme Court approves their decisions, and persecuted peoples are deported before the merits of their cases can be examined. Everyone can sleep soundly. Israel's asylum system is designed to allow everyone, aside from asylum seekers, to sleep soundly. The chairman of the Advisory Committee on Refugees said in an interview last year that he sleeps soundly when he rejects asylum requests, because he knows that if he has erred, the court will rectify the mistake. District court judges…Read More... | 10 Comments
The Interior Ministry, which processes applications for asylum, is by now well-known in Israel and the world for its lack of credibility. But it has a friend in the courts. We have discussed in the past the ways that the Supreme Court rules on refugee-related matters without any reference to refugee law. Since then, many similar decisions have been taken, and if it seems that we neglected to report on these rulings, it’s because they have become, in our eyes, trivial – courts are disinterested in refugee law. Judges purport to rule in accordance with international law without bothering to…Read More... | 11 Comments
The separation barrier has isolated two families living near Bethlehem from their communities. While they are on the Jerusalem side of the barrier, they are also banned from most of the city. The courts and the state have little sympathy. By Ehud Uziel "Nu, when is this case going to end? It's been dragging on since 2006." With these words, Supreme Court Justice Elyakim Rubinstein convened a hearing on the lives of the Zawahreh and Jado families on Monday morning, November 19, 2012. Throughout the hearing, I wondered whether the justices were aware of Kafka's presence in the courtroom. They…Read More... | 5 Comments
How Israeli courts succeed in employing legal norms in a manner that excludes immigrants from the most basic principles of freedom and justice. Immigrants of all kinds have become, to use Giorgio Agamben's terminology, the paradigmatic homo sacer of our day – they are in the area of indistinction between the external and the internal realm of juridical order, the threshold where inside and outside do not exclude each other but rather blur into one another. They are in this paradoxical realm, in which they are included in the juridical order by means of being excluded from it and abandoned…Read More... | 2 Comments
In many countries, if asylum seekers are engaged in legal proceedings, their deportation is automatically delayed, in light of the implications of deporting an individual to a country where he or she faces danger. In Israel, this principle does not exist. We have discussed elsewhere how the rights of “foreigners” in Israel are considered through the prism of the rights and interests of Israelis. The likelihood of the court granting a “foreigner” relief in the country improves considerably if an Israeli citizen's rights and interest are positively affected. However, when seeking legal status in Israel in order to improve their…Read More... | 2 Comments
By Noam Wiener Former Israeli Supreme Court Justice Edmond Levy submitted on Monday his report on the legality of settlements in the occupied territories, recommending we change the very language we use to describe the territories, taken by force of arms by the Israeli army in 1967. The report declares, contrary to more than forty years of Israeli Supreme Court jurisprudence, that the territories are not occupied according to international law. The report further recommends that settlements built in the occupied territories, without authorization even according to Israeli law, be authorized ex-post facto based on the legal theory of administrative promise.…Read More... | 52 Comments
What is behind the left’s anger at a government commission report that rejects the existence of the occupation? The report presents an opportunity to replace empty political rhetoric and legality with a focus on facts on the ground. By Itamar Mann The Israeli left responded with a mixture of laughter and rage to former Justice Edmond Levy’s report on the status of the West Bank and its claim that “there is no occupation.” One commentator particularly baffled was human rights lawyer Michael Sfard, who wrote that the “report was written in Wonderland, governed by the laws of absurdity.” Instead of…Read More... | 22 Comments
The Knesset has extended temporary legislation under which interrogations of security prisoners are exempt from requirements to visually record the investigation, Haaretz recently reported. The security establishment pushed hard to make the law permanent; Haaretz reports that opposition by two of the democratic-leaning Likud members, Dan Meridor and Michael Eitan, as well as human rights organizations like ACRI resulted in the compromise of a temporary extension. The Association for Civil Rights in Israel wrote in a statement that: In security-related offenses, full documentation is all the more necessary. This, both because of the increased concern for wrongful pressure in such…Read More... | 2 Comments
Updated: The Knesset on Wednesday voted down a bill called the "Settlement Arrangement Law," a motion tailored to legalize settlement areas and outposts in the West Bank facing legal challenges from Palestinians who claim to own the land privately. The vote failed (69 against, 22 in favor) despite severe pressure from the right this week, and following Prime Minister Netanyahu's threat to fire any government minister who supports the bill. On Tuesday the Attorney General approved a compromise plan offered by Netanyahu, which ensures the future of settlement expansion in the West Bank. In a fierce legislative battle to win state approval for settlement…Read More... | 11 Comments
Today, June 5, Israel marks a double anniversary: 45 years since the Six-Day War and 30 years since the first Lebanon War. The name of the latter is misleading – the war took place in Lebanon, but it was yet another attempt to solve our "Palestinian problem" by force. Israel conquered most of its neighbor to the north (including the capital), installed a puppet leader as president, and forced the PLO to sail all the way to Tunis. But the plan failed. Five years later, a popular unarmed revolt broke out in Gaza and spread to the West Bank. A…Read More... | 49 Comments
Just weeks after the Supreme Court ruling against any further delay in evacuating the outpost settlement of Migron, the government is now working industriously to legalize or otherwise legitimize the status of Givat Ha'ulpana, a neighborhood of the West Bank settlement of Beit El, near Ramallah. In 2008, human rights organization Yesh Din petitioned to have the neighborhood dismantled on behalf of its Palestinian owners; in September 2011, the Court found that Givat Ha'ulpana was indeed built on privately-owned Palestinian lands – in simple terms, this is property theft. The state agreed to demolish the neighborhood (Hebrew) then, and the…Read More... | 7 Comments
The Israeli government is looking for ways to avoid evacuating a settlement built on private Palestinian land. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has until the end of the month to try and solve the political crisis over the evacuation of Ulpana Hill, a neighborhood built on private Palestinian land in the settlement of Beit El. Netanyahu has made it clear that he will do everything in his power to keep the settlers on site (though he didn't rule out moving them to a nearby hill, to which there is no private claim). The Supreme Court ordered the evacuation of Ulpana Hill several…Read More... | 11 Comments
Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman's draft bill for the Basic Law: Legislation has prompted a lively debate for and against, mainly over the clause that would allow the Knesset to revive a law that the Supreme Court has ruled unconstitutional through a 65-member majority. On Tuesday, the new chief justice of the Supreme Court, Asher Grunis, delivered a sharp message against the bill, and openly criticized the Justice Minister for not consulting with the Court in drafting it. His reprimand was a strong statement for a judge who is considered to be conservative and skeptical of judicial activism. One intelligent critique…Read More... | 17 Comments
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Reports, maps, infographics and other documents on human rights and democracy.
Children under occupation
The effects of occupation on minors.
On the challenges facing a growing population of asylum seekers and refugees in Israel.
A series of striking infographics.
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