CIVICUS

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Israel

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Last updated on 01.09.2016 at 18:45

Israel-Overview

Respect for fundamental freedoms in Israel is heavily influenced by the complex political situation related to Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories.

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Association

Due to a perpetual emergency decree, Israeli authorities have wide discretion to declare an organisation illegal.

Due to a perpetual emergency decree, Israeli authorities have wide discretion to declare an organisation illegal. The legislative framework governing civil society organisations is also becoming more restrictive. The Law on Disclosure Requirements for Recipients of Support from a Foreign State Entity requires organisations to submit financial reports four times a year for funding coming from foreign sources. More recently, the Parliament approved the ‘Transparency Law’ requiring CSOs receiving over 50% of their funding from international sources to indicate this on every document, website, sign or publication that they issue and in all communication with officials. In reality, according to civil society organisations, the legislation is intended to “primarily target organisations that criticise Israel's policies in the West Bank and the Gaza strip”. Civil society organisations and human rights defenders that criticise specific policies of the state and those who are involved with human rights issues—especially those dealing with Palestinian-Israeli issues—operate in a hostile environment.

Peaceful Assembly

Although there is no constitutional guarantee of the right to freedom of peaceful assembly, it has been upheld by the judiciary as a fundamental right

Although there is no constitutional guarantee of the right to freedom of peaceful assembly, it has been upheld by the judiciary as a fundamental right. The Police Ordinance (1971) and the Penal Law (1977) regulate the right to peaceful assembly, and they require prior permission to hold a demonstration or gathering involving more than 50 and where speeches or a march will be held in open air. In practice, government authorities reject permits for numerous public gatherings and repress them while they are being held. Gatherings which are anti-government, oppose government policies, or support Palestinian causes are specifically targeted.

Expression

The Basic law in Israel does not grant individuals the right to express their opinions; however, the Supreme Court has affirmed the right as an essential component of human dignity.

The Basic law in Israel does not grant individuals the right to express their opinions; however, the Supreme Court has affirmed the right as an essential component of human dignity. Despite this ruling, the Knesset adopted legislation that severely curtails the exercise of the right to freedom of expression. The Boycott Prohibition Law and the Budget Foundations Law impose economic sanctions on anyone that expresses opinions against injustices and human rights violations in the Occupied Territories. In order to attend official press conferences and pass through Israeli military checkpoints, journalists need to apply for proper accreditation. In practice, it is generally granted, but Palestinian journalists are especially targeted with the occasional refusal.