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Likud plans to revive bids to expel migrants, terrorists’ families – report

Date: 13.5.19 Source: Stuart Winer, Times of Israel

The Likud party is reportedly demanding that prospective coalition partners support two controversial bills, one of which was previously struck down by the High Court of Justice as unconstitutional and another that the attorney general described as an infringement of human rights.

Likud is including the bills, allowing the detention of migrants for up to three years and enabling the forcible relocation of relatives of Palestinian attackers from their homes, in a legal annex to coalition agreements, the Ynet news site reported Monday.

The bills are to be passed into law by making use of additional proposed legislation that would allow the government to overrule the High Court of Justice, a Likud source was quoted as saying.

“The purpose of the override clause is to enable the Knesset, which was elected by the people, to legislate the policies for which it was elected,” the source said, according to the report. “We will do this on many levels, among them the campaign against terror, and also removing migrants from Israel.”

In 2013 the High Court ruled unanimously that an amendment allowing the state to detain illegal migrants for up to three years without charging them with a crime was unconstitutional. The Knesset in December 2014 eventually approved a watered-down bill easing detention procedures for African migrants, but also motivating those in the country to leave by enabling their incarceration in a detention facility for up to 20 months.

As part of a series of measures targeting Palestinian perpetrators of attacks, the Ministerial Committee for Legislation voted in December 2018 to advance a bill that would permit the IDF’s Central Command to expel the relatives of Palestinian assailants from their hometowns to other parts of the West Bank within a week of an attack or attempted attack. The next day, Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit announced his official opposition to the bill, warning that the proposal could infringe on human rights and spark international condemnation of Israel.

Earlier Monday the Haaretz daily reported that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu planned to promote a bill that would allow the government tooverride the High Court of Justice on administrative as well as legislative matters.

Last year the government gave its approval for a so-called override bill that would give a majority of 61 MKs the ability to overturn High Court decisions to strike down Knesset legislation as unconstitutional. Supreme Court Chief Justice Esther Hayut warned at the time the law would cause “constitutional chaos” in Israel and hamper efforts to safeguard human rights.

Although the bill advanced no further, following last month’s elections Netanyahu is likely to form a new coalition relying on right-wing nationalist parties that generally support the legislation.

Since 2006, some 50,000 Eritreans and Sudanese have entered Israel illegally via the Sinai desert, prompting authorities to construct a fence along the border and build the large Holot detention facility in the Negev desert to house them.

For the past eight years, Israel has struggled to establish and implement a clear legal framework to deal with the influx of migrants, many of whom settled in south Tel Aviv, which has resulted in confusing and often conflicting ad hoc immigration policies.