A bill that would grant amnesty to Jews accused of crimes linked to opposing the 2005 Disengagement from Gaza passed its first reading in Knesset on July 29.
Thousands of Jewish nationalists were arrested for protesting the disengagement through civil disobedience. Most were subsequently released without formal charges. Yet, 482 Jewish protestors are still at various stages in the court system, some already convicted.
Can't see player? Click here for coverage of the Knesset attempt to heal the wounds of the Gaza Disengagement.
The bill aims to grant amnesty to those accused of crimes that did not incur risks of personal injury or loss of life. It would thus apply to 400 of the 482 accused. Those already convicted would also be pardoned and their sentences set aside.
In the video above, the bill's sponsor, Knesset Member Ruby Rivlin, says, "I believe this is a time to pardon, a time for understanding, a time to cure what the handing over of Gush Katif did to the people of Israel.”
The Disengagement, which ultimately displaced close to 9,000 Jews, also created a major rift in Israeli society between those who champion the Jewish People's rights to the Land of Israel, and those who promote Arab sovereignty in parts of the ancient Jewish homeland. Rivlin and other supporters of the amnesty bill believe that it will help repair this split.