Arab MKs Fume Over New Anti-Terror Bill

Joint List claims the main objective of anti-terror law is to 'suppress the Palestinian minority in Israel.'

Hezki Baruch ,

Arab MKs
Arab MKs
Yonatan Sindel/Flash 90

Arab MKs in the Joint List were infuriated Thursday over the Knesset's approval of the first reading of a sweeping counterterrorism bill.

The bill significantly expands the powers of the state involved in dealing with terrorism as well as broadens the definition of what constitutes a terror organization. 

The legislation also stipulates a three-year jail sentence for those who publicly endorse terrorist groups, equalizes the punishment for those convicted of aiding terror to that of a convicted terrorist, and raises the maximum prison term for terror related crimes to 30 years. 

According to the Arab MKs, "the object of the law is to suppress the forms of popular struggle of the Palestinian minority in Israel, and stamp out its activities in solidarity with its people living in the West Bank and Gaza."

The Joint List argued the law is blatantly anti-democratic since it would authorize security forces to "suppress" any activity in protest of Israel's policies. 

"It's very unfortunate that most Knesset members chose to uphold a law that limits the freedom of political activity and grossly violates various freedoms, instead of struggling against the occupation and its crimes against humanity, which is the real terrorism, as opposed to the legitimate Palestinian national struggle for liberation and independence," the MKs said.