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Israel attempts to redefine terrorism, but is its definition too broad?

Some observers are concerned that a draft Israeli law's wide-ranging definition of what constitutes terrorism could outlaw opposition to the occupation and suppress political opposition in Israel.
Israeli policemen patrol a street in the Arab east Jerusalem neighbourhood of Jabel Mukaber following clashes in Jerusalem  September 18, 2015. Israel deployed hundreds of extra police around the Old City of Jerusalem on Friday after Palestinian leaders called for a 'day of rage' to protest at new Israeli security measures. In an effort to limit the threat of violence, Israel also banned access to al-Aqsa for all men under 40 on Friday, the Muslim holy day. REUTERS/Ammar Awad - RTS1S1V

A troubling anti-terrorism law to replace the 1945 Defense (Emergency) Regulations passed its first reading in the Israeli Knesset by an overwhelming 45-14 vote on Sept. 2. The 100-page piece of legislation had been opposed by the left-wing Meretz Party and the predominantly Arab Joint List, but appears to have the support of the two major Israeli parties, the Likud and the Zionist Camp.

For a time, the mandate-era British regulations continued to be used by Israel as the legal basis for collective punishment, such as deportations, home demolitions and administrative detention in the occupied Palestinian territories. In 1999, however, the Israeli Supreme Court ordered the government to “start reducing the number of laws and ordinances that depend on the state of emergency.” An attempt to rewrite the regulations as original Israeli law was made during Tzipi Livni's tenure as justice minister (2013-14), but the Association for Civil Rights in Israel strongly opposed it. The effort remained mired in the Knesset's legislative process.

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