Prevention of Infiltration Law
The Prevention of Infiltration Law is an
Israeli law enacted in 1954. After the 1948 Palestinian exodusmany Palestinian refugees living in neighbouring Arabcountries tried to cross the border with Israel for different reasons. The Israeli Government enacted the Prevention of Infiltration Law in order to forbid and impede what under the law receives the name of "infiltration" into their country.
:"For more information on historical context, see
1948 Palestinian exodus, 1948 Arab-Israeli war, Palestinian immigration (Israel)and Israeli-Palestinian conflict".Following the emergence of the Palestinian refugeeproblem after the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, UN resolutions supported by the majority of countries in the world, called on Israelto recognize the right of these refugees to return to their homes. Israel rejected all these resolutions. Nevertheless, many Palestinians tried, in one way or another, to return to their homes. The Israeli authorities arrested those who returned and sent them back to the countries they had come from, or sometimes imprisoned them and then expelled them when their term of imprisonment ended. From time to time, too, the Israeli authorities arrested groups of Arabs who had stayed in the country without being granted Israeli nationality (a problem discussed further below) and pushed them over the frontier. These Arabs would often return and, through their relatives, obtain decisions from the Israeli courts allowing them to stay in Israel [Jiryis, Sabri (1981): "Domination by the Law". Journal of Palestine Studies, Vol. 11, No. 1, 10th Anniversary Issue: Palestinians under Occupation. (Autumn, 1981), pp. 67-92.] .
For some time these practices continued to embarrass the Israeli authorities until finally they passed a
lawforbidding Palestinians to return to Israel, those who did so being regarded as "infiltrators." [Jiryis, Sabri (1981): "Domination by the Law". Journal of Palestine Studies, Vol. 11, No. 1, 10th Anniversary Issue: Palestinians under Occupation. (Autumn, 1981), pp. 67-92.] . Most of the people in question were refugees attempting to return to their homes inside the new Israeli state. Between 30,000 and 90,000 Palestinian refugeesreturned to Israel as a result. They wanted to return to what were their homes prior to the Arab-Israeli War, looking for their lost loved ones, harvesting crops from fields that were confiscated, and to reclaim property other than land. There were also Bedouin to whom the concept of newly established borders were foreignFact|date=July 2007.
Arabs declare the infiltration into Israel's territory to have been a direct consequence to the displacement and dispossession of the Palestinian refugees during the
1948 Arab-Israeli War. To Israel, the infiltration was a large problem. Israel's answer to this was to establish new settlements along the border and raze the abandoned Arab villages. A "free fire" policy towards infiltrators was adopted — a policy of shooting those crossing the international armistice line illegally. Eventually, the Israeli leadership came to the conclusion that only retaliatory strikes would be able to create the necessary factor of deterrence, that would convince the Arab armies to prevent infiltration. Although the strikes were sometimes confined to military targets (particularly, at the later stages of the infiltration), numerous civilians were killed, prompting the question whether the strikes were a form of collective punishmentFact|date=July 2007.
The 'Prevention of Infiltration Law' [http://www.geocities.com/savepalestinenow/israellaws/fulltext/preventioninfiltrationlaw.htm]
The "Prevention of Infiltration (Offences and Jurisdiction) Law, 5714-1954" defined as an "infiltrator" anyone who (Article 1 (a)):
...has entered Israel knowingly and unlawfully and who at any time between the 16th Kislev, 3708 (29th November, 1947) and his entry was -:(1) a national or citizen of the Lebanon, Egypt, Syria, Saudi-Arabia, Trans-Jordan, Iraq or the Yemen ; or:(2) a resident or visitor in one of those countries or in any part of Palestine outside Israel ; or:(3) a Palestinian citizen or a Palestinian resident without nationality or citizenship or whose nationality or citizenship was doubtful and who, during the said period, left his ordinary place of residence in an area which has become a part of Israel for a place outside Israel.
According to COHRE and BADIL (p. 38) ["Ruling Palestine, A History of the Legally Sanctioned Jewish-Israeli Seizure of Land and Housing in Palestine". Publishers: COHRE & BADIL, May 2005, p. 37.] , under the "Prevention of Infiltration (Offences and Jurisdiction) Law, 5714-1954", the definition of ‘infiltrators’ corresponded closely with that of ‘absentees’. The law established strict penalties for such ‘infiltration’. Under this law, ‘internal refugees’ (Palestinians who were declared absent from their own villages but inside Palestine at the time Israel was created) were also barred from returning to their villages. When caught, they were expelled from the country. Over the ensuing years, several thousand Palestinians were expelled in this manner, paving the way for Jewish immigration and colonisation of their lands.
According to Kirsbaum [Kirshbaum, David A. "Israeli Emergency Regulations and The Defense (Emergency) Regulations of 1945". Israel Law Resource Center, February, 2007.] over the years, the Israeli Government has continued to cancel and modify some of the
Defense (Emergency) Regulationsof 1945, but mostly it has added more as it has continued to extend its declared state of emergency. For example, even though the Prevention of Infiltration Law of 1954 is not labelled as an official "Emergency Regulation", it extends the applicability of the "Defence (Emergency) Regulation 112" of 1945 giving the Minister of Defence extraordinary powers of deportation for accused infiltrators even before they are convicted (Articles 30 & 32), and makes itself subject to cancellation when the Knessetends the State of Emergencyupon which all of the Emergency Regulations are dependent.
According to a
Tel-Aviv Universitydocument ["Israel - A Safe Haven? Problems in the Treatment Offered by the State of Israelto Refugees and Asylum Seekers". [http://www.tau.ac.il/law/clinics/english/Safe%20heaven.pdf] ] the Law does not consider the motives of the person for crossing the border and entering Israel. It also enables the establishment of Tribunals for the Prevention of Infiltration, in which judges will preside who are military officers (but who do not necessarily possess legal knowledge) and enables the tribunal to deviate from the rules of evidence. The penalties for infiltration are severe - and may reach imprisonment for five years. The author states that in practice, no uniform practice is employed in relation to persons who cross the border and apply for asylum. Some have been held for periods of two or three years in prison, others have been released from prison on various conditions, while others have not been allowed to enter Israel at all and were returned to the place from which they came (in possible breach of the principle of non-refoulement).
1948 Palestinian exodus
Palestinian immigration (Israel)
Law of Israel
Basic Laws of Israel
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