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Israeli lawmakers aim to triple cost for Palestinians to petition High Court

Un policier israélien surveille la démolition de la maison de la famille d'un Palestinien qui avait tué trois Israéliens, le 7 juin 2009 dans l'est de Jérusalem
AHMAD GHARABLI (AFP/Archives)
The proposal requires the approval of Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, who reportedly opposes it

An parliament member from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud faction aims to advance legislation that will triple the cost of petitioning the country's High Court for Palestinians and organizations representing them in their pleas to stop the demolition of houses built without permits.

Likud lawmaker Yoav Kisch's bill to raise the cost of pursuing such petitions from NIS 1,786 ($510) to NIS 5,400 ($1,540) has gained momentum in Israel's parliament, the Haaretz daily reported Tuesday.

Ostensibly, the proposal aims to counter what Kisch has called the "legal intifada" waged by Palestinians and organizations representing them by flooding the High Court with thousands of such petitions. 

“The new front of the human rights organizations against Israel is to flood the Israeli court system with thousands of petitions against the demolition of illegal buildings,” Kisch told Haaretz. “The weight of the petitions amounts to a legal intifada, which threatens the High Court."

"We are talking about more than 1,000 petitions a year being submitted by or on behalf of Palestinians. A rise in the cost of the fee for whoever is not an Israeli citizen would aim to prevent and reduce the phenomenon of legal attrition."

The proposal requires the approval of Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Jewish Home) --who reportedly opposes it -- and the Constitution, Law and Justice Committee -- six of the eleven members have signed.

Two other coalition members who are not on the committee have signed on — Bezalel Smotrich (Jewish Home) and Miki Zohar (Likud).

The proposal excludes applications of foreigners seeking naturalization, stating that the fee would be raised for “petitions to the High Court of Justice by persons who are not Israeli citizens, except for a petition involving aliyah to Israel or receiving citizenship.”

Earlier this year, Israel's parliament was debating introducing legislation that would limit the ability of nongovernmental organizations to file petitions at the High Court of Justice on behalf of Palestinians.

That bill would bar individuals, organizations, and public agencies from petitioning government action at the Supreme Court unless that action directly and personally harms the individual petitioner, members of the petitioning organization, or the interests entrusted to the petitioning public agency.

The proposal followed a wave of petitions filed by NGOs on behalf of Palestinian landowners where Israeli settlement outposts were been built illegally. In 2104, the High Court notably ruled in favor of one such petition against the wildcat Amona outpost, leading to the community's evacuation and demolition.

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This is Trump type legislation and is not something done in a democracy. Just like Trump this government can't stand sent one who opposes it's actions and will go to any length to stifle opposition. in a true democracy all sides are heard whether you agreed or not.

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