Middle East Monitor / December 15, 2021
Israel’s Knesset yesterday passed a bill that would allow the occupation police to storm and search Palestinian homes and confiscate cameras without court orders.
Haaretz reported that the law’s objective was “to combat crimes in the Arab community,” explaining that the bill would allow the police “to search Arab buildings without a warrant.”
The newspaper quotes sources as saying that the law could be “exploited by police in hiding evidence.”
Human rights advocates criticized the law, warning that it could “harm the Arab society.”
In a similar context, the Knesset’s Joint List – a political alliance of Arab-majority political parties in Israel – described the law as “dangerous,” adding that it “gives the Israeli police and army full powers to storm homes without a court warrant.”
The statement pointed out that the law was being proposed “under the cover of combating violence and crime so that Arab homes’ sanctity could be violated as the police and army see fit.”
The explanatory notes to the bill state: “The proposed amendment is designed to provide the police with an effective enforcement tool and assist in the police’s ability to solve cases and obtain evidence in its battle against serious crime, and particularly serious crime in Arab society.” “In recent years, crime has surged in Arab society, and it exacts high costs in human lives, both of criminal elements and of innocent bystanders. Among the characteristics of this crime are the possession of illegal weapons, extortion (including by means of illegal collection of debts, ‘protection’) and shootings in residential locations.”
The Bill to Amend the Criminal Procedure Ordinance vote passed in its first reading with 60 members of the Knesset supporting it versus 58 who opposed it. It will now be turned over to the House Committee to decide which committee will discuss the bill.
Arab community leaders in Israel accuse the police of being responsible for the spread of crime within their society, accusing them of “turning a blind eye to the residents’ complaints on the matter.”