Israel: high court issues injunction against Gaza protester amnesty

The Israeli Supreme Court on July 18 issued a 90-day injunction against the enforcement of a law preventing the prosecution of 400 protesters arrested during the 2005 Gaza disengagement. The law, passed in January, prevents the prosecution or suspends the sentences of those who were arrested for protesting Israel’s 2005 withdrawal from the Gaza Strip.

During the disengagement, the Israeli government dismantled 21 Jewish settlements in Gaza and four in the West Bank, demolished residential buildings and evacuated all security personnel. The plan sparked nationwide protests in which hundreds of thousands participated. In ordering the 90-day injunction, the court ordered the government to explain the law; otherwise it would be struck down permanently. The court ruled that the amnesty law is inequitable because it favors one group of protesters, while other protesters opposing other government policies are still prosecuted.

The ruling came in response to a petition by a group of left-wing protesters arrested while opposing the eviction Palestinians from the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah. The petitioners claimed that the amnesty law discriminates against them because they still must face prosecution while protesters of an opposing ideology do not.

The amnesty measure, which passed the Knesset by a vote of 51-9 , does not extend immunity to people who committed acts that endangered human life. This is the third general amnesty measure issued by Israel. The first two were issued after the Arab-Israeli conflicts of 1948 and 1967.

From Jurist, July 19. Used with permission.

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