Ramallah: A controversial new law is being proposed in the Israeli Knesset which grants the military the power to sue anyone who criticises the institution.
The “Jenin, Jenin Law” which was proposed by the Habayit Hayehudi party has been slammed by critics who say it is simple a tool that will help the military bury scandals and social consequences to crimes committed by its forces. The bill, which was meant to exact a legal price for the defamation of Israeli soldiers, was named after the 2002 movie implicating Israeli soldiers in a massacre that took place in the West Bank city of Jenin and its camp. The new law allows a person or a group to be sued for criticising the Israeli military forces within the framework of the libel law. Israeli political parties are also demanding the law be broadened to include the police and security services. “This law is catastrophic for Palestinians who already have difficulties in accessing the Israeli judicial system,” Hanna Eisa, an expert in international law told Gulf News. “Israel believes that the law will preserve the prestige and status of its military forces with no person or group able to lodge complaints against individuals in the uniform,” he said.
“However, Israel is not aware that the new law will badly harm freedom of speech within Israel itself. While Israel has been trying to raise doubts over the death of the Palestinian child Mohammad Al Dura and the Jenin massacre among others, the law serves as a precursor to omit the crimes altogether.