Israel’s high court upholds disputed Anti-boycott Law

Israel’s high court upholds disputed Anti-boycott Law

HomeMiddle EastPalestine Thu Apr 16, 2015 6:12AM

Israel’s High Court of Justice has upheld a law which allows for penalizing anyone who calls for a boycott of Israel or its settlement activities in the occupied West Bank.

On Wednesday, a nine-person top judicial panel voted unanimously to preserve the so-called Anti-Boycott Law, which aims to combat the rising tide of Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel.

An identical vote also allowed the Ministry of Finance to take away funding, or even fine any organizations that support the BDS campaign.

The BDS is a global anti-Israeli campaign which uses economic and political pressure on Israel to comply with the stated goals of the movement – the end of Israeli occupation and colonization of Arab land, full equality for Arab-Palestinian citizens, and respect for the right of return of Palestinian refugees.

Anti-Boycott Law, passed in 2011, was suspended the following year by the same high court over accusations that it is unconstitutional.

The court’s decision drew criticisms from the opposition parties, who say the ruling silences one side of the political map.

The NGOs which have opposed the bill have condemned the panel’s ruling, saying, “The boycott law is a law to silence legitimate criticism.”

“The High Court ruling is a serious blow to freedom of expression and basic rights for political participation on a disputed topic,” they said in a statement.

Palestinians are seeking to create an independent state on the territories of the West Bank, East al-Quds (Jerusalem), and the Gaza Strip and are demanding that Israel withdraw from the occupied Palestinian territories.

Tel Aviv, however, has refused to return to the 1967 borders and is unwilling to discuss the issue of al-Quds.

More than half a million Israelis live in over 120 illegal settlements built since the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East al-Quds in 1967.

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