Knesset extends amendment on arrest of terrorist suspects

The Knesset (Israel’s Parliament) passed an amendment to the Criminal Procedure (Arrest of a Suspect in Terrorism Offense) (Temporary Provision) Law, 5766-2006. The current amendment extends the application of the original law for an additional year, until December 31, 2012. It also amends some of the law’s provisions, based on the experience acquired since the law’s introduction and in accordance with a Supreme Court decision that repealed an earlier authorization to conduct ex-parte hearings of an extension, appeal, or additional hearing in connection with an arrest of a terrorism suspect.

According to the current amendment, an authorized officer may, without a judicial warrant, extend the arrest of a suspect in a terrorism offense for an additional 24 hours, in addition to the original period of 48 hours. Such authorization can be granted if the officer is convinced that an interruption of the investigation may cause it real harm that will hamper preventing harm to human life.

The extension decree must be in writing and include an explanation for taking the action. It must be approved by the head of the investigation section in the General Security Service (Shin Beit, hereafter GSS). The court may, in rare cases, and at the request of the head of the GSS, extend the above periods for an additional period not exceeding 24 hours if it is convinced that an interruption will hurt the investigation and thus will hamper preventing harm to human life.

The current amendment further amends provisions on the extension of an arrest of terrorism suspects initially made in the suspects’ presence. According to the new provisions, a Justice of the Supreme Court may, upon receiving a written request from the head of the GSS as approved by the Attorney General, extend the arrest if he is convinced that an interruption of the investigation constitutes a highly certain possibility of hampering the prevention of harm to human life. Such an extension may not exceed 72 hours each or 144 hours all together, as long as the total extension does not exceed 20 days following a hearing at which the detainee was present.

Israeli High Court Justices deny petition requesting Shin Bet statistics about extent of regulation

The Israeli High Court of Justice denied on Tuesday a petition filed against the Shin Bet and the Prime Minister’s Office requesting information regarding the extent to which a regulation preventing Palestinian detainees from consulting with an attorney is being applied. The High Court justices agreed with the State’s stance that revealing such information has the potential to harm State security.

The petition was filed by the Movement for Freedom of Information and the human rights group Yesh Din requesting to reveal Shin Bet statistics regarding the use of the regulation during 2004-2008. According to the petitioners, even though the Shin Bet is not included in the Freedom of Information law, “there hasn’t been any attempt to expose some of the data in such a way that will balance between the State’s security and the freedom of information.”

High Court Justice Neal Hendel ruled that “the detailed explanations provided by the authorities have convinced me that accepting the petition, completely or partially, might give an opening that will eventually and unintentionally assist hostile factors who wish to harm the State in some way.”

Hendel added: “I was convinced this fear isn’t theoretical, but real and proven.” However, he did go on to criticize the Shin Bet, saying: “It’s not right that the issue of preventing attorney-detainee visits isn’t supervised.”

Israeli Reporter Faces Questions for Whistleblowing on ‘Targeted Killing’

An Israeli journalist wanted by authorities for publishing information from top secret documents is back in Israel after nearly a year abroad, Voice of America reports.

Ha’aretz reporter Uri Blau returned to Israel Sunday after his lawyers reached an agreement with the Justice Ministry. The ministry said Blau agreed to return 1,500 documents and present himself for questioning to both the Shin Bet security service and police.  Following the interrogation, Israel’s attorney general will decide whether to charge Blau with any crimes.

Blau had already returned about 500 documents before leaving on a trip London, where he stayed to avoid arrest. Blau got the classified documents from the former secretary of an Israeli general responsible for operations in the West Bank.

Political Science academic theses on counterterrorism

Ahrnens, Anette.  Lund University, Sweden; 2007
A Quest for Legitimacy: Debating UN Security Council Rules on Terrorism and Non-proliferation.

Alienated: A Reworking of the Racialization Thesis after September 11th

Using the Qur’an to Justify Terrorist Violence: Analysing Selective Application of the Qur’an in English-Language Militant Islamist Discourse

Berger, Michael Andrew. St Andrews University, U.K.; 2010
How resisting democracies can defeat substate terrorism : formulating a  theoretical framework for strategic coercion against nationalistic substate terrorist organizations.

Berrebi, Claude. Princeton University, U.S.A.; 2004
The causes and consequences of terrorism.

Biggio, Nancy Connors. The University of Alabama, U.S.A.; 2002
The rationality of the use of terrorism by secular and religious groups.

Binodah, Abdullah M. The University of Sheffield, U.K.; 2006
U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East and the Bush War on Terror : elite opinion and the failure of U.S. strategy.

Boukalas, Christos. Lancaster University, U.K.; 2007

Empire and Reich. War on Terrorism and the Political Metalaxis of the US.

Brannan, David. St. Andrews University, U.K.; 20007

Violence, terrorism and the role of theology : repentant and rebellious Christian identity.

Cockley, David. Texas A&M University, U.S.A: 2009 – The media spectacle of terrorism and response-able literature.

Cunningham, William G. George Mason University, U.S.A.; 2006 – Terrorism and conflict resolution: Theory and practice .

Dalby, Andrew Keith. St Andrews University, U.K.; 2004
European integrationist influences on member states’ counter-terrorist co-operation and co-ordination.

Derin Gure, Pinar. Boston University, U.S.A.; 2009.
Essays in public economics and economics of terrorism.

Dulin, Adam. ISVG; West  Haven ,CT, USA; May 2006
Development as Counterterrorism – An Examination of the Columbian Conflict

Egner, Michael. Pardee RAND Graduate School, U.S.A.; 2009
Between Slogans and Solutions: A Frame-Based Assessment Methodology for Public Diplomacy.

El-Ibiary, Rasha. University of Newcastle upon Tyne, U.K.; 2006
Televisual representation of the ‘War on Terror’ : comparative analysis of Al-Jazeera and CNN in covering the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Engene, Jan Oskar. University of Bergen, Norway; 1998
Patterns of terrorism in Western Europe, 1950-1995

Eser, Tarik. ISVG; West  Haven ,CT, USA; December; 2007
The Impact of the Turkish Policies Toward the PKK Terrorist Organization

Flarey, Dominick L. Breyer State University – Kamiah Idaho, U.S.A.; 2003
Terrorist Groups Are Aligning To Conduct Global Terrorism.

Franks, Jason. University of St. Andrews, U.K.; 2005
Rethinking the roots of terrorism: through the doors of perception.

Gatliff, Jason R. Bowling Green State University, U.S.A.; 2006  Terrorism and Just War Tradition: Issues of compatibility.

Ginbar, Yuval. University of Essex, U.K.; 2006
Torture, terrorists and ticking bombs : moral, societal and legal aspects of the ‘ticking bomb’ justification for torture in the struggle against terrorism.

Grevi, Giovanni. Universite Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium; 2007
The Common Foreign, Security and Defence Policy of the European Union: Ever-Closer Cooperation. Dynamics of Regime Deepening.

Hadjimatheou, Katerina. The University of Essex, U.K.; 2009
Ethnic profiling in counter-terrorism: Justice in practice.

Hale, William Chris. ISVG;  West  Haven ,CT, USA; May 2005
Twenty-first Century Terrorism, Twenty-first  Century Answers – The Why and How of Collection, Analysis, and Dissemination of Open Source Intelligence

Harrison, John. St. Andrews University, U.K.; 2006
The evolution of international aviation security : from politics to warfare.

Jansen, Pia Therese. St. Andrews University, U.K.; 2008
The consequences of Israel’s counter terrorism policy.

Kalidheen, Rufus. University of South Africa, South Africa; 2008
Policing mechanisms to counter terrorist attacks in South Africa.

Kim, Joongho. University of Hawai’i at Manoa, U.S.A.; 2008
The sources of North Korean terrorism: Analyses at three levels.

Kiser, Steve. Pardee RAND Graduate School, U.S.A.; 2005
Financing Terror; An Analysis and Simulation to Affect Al Qaeda’s Financial Infrastructures.

Le Sage, André. University of Cambridge, UK; 2004
Somalia and the war on terrorism: political Islamic movements & US counter-terrorism efforts

Levi, Michael Abraham. King’s College (University of London), U.K.; 2006
Rethinking nuclear terrorism.

Markovic, Vesna. ISVG; West  Haven ,CT, USA; December 2008
Suicide  Bombings and Lethality – A Statistical Analysis of Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures

Sproat, Peter Alan. University of Newcastle upon Tyne, UK; 1997
An investigation of the concept of state terrorism .

Article: Rotter – Gatekeepers in intelligence organizations: The case of the Israeli Security Agency

Rotter describes the role of internal legal advisors and internal auditors in Israel’s intelligence agency (ISA).

Ireland objects to EU-Israel data deal

EU Observer reports that Irish minister for justice Dermott Ahern has confirmed that Dublin is seeking to block a new European Commission initiative that would allow the free transfer of personal data on EU citizens to Israel.

Ireland is concerned the data could be misused after eight fake Irish passports were allegedly used by Israel’s intelligence agency Mossad in the assassination of Hamas operative Mahmoud al-Mabhouh earlier this year. Also six fake British passport were used by the alleged hit team. As a result, Irish officials last week called for the scrapping of commission plans to declare Israeli data protection standards as being sufficient to allow the transfer of personal data.

The commission initiative to make the EU declaration on Israeli data protection standards would have gone ahead automatically if no member state had raised an objection by Tuesday’s deadline. But following the Irish objection, national officials will discuss the matter in a committee that deals with the protection of personal data.

Obama’s outreach to the Muslim world failed

The latest report from the Pew Global Attitudes Project (click here to read full report) indicates that opinions towards US remain negative in many Muslim nations. In particular, Muslims in the Middle East are less impressed with Mr. Obama now than they were when he first delivered his message of hope and change to Cairo last year.

Obama’s administration undertook a series of changes in the outreach policy, in the attempt of showing proper respect to the people of the region and, in so doing, distancing itself from the George W. Bush administration. For example, The Washington Times reports that the phrase “Islamic radicalism” was banned from the lexicon, and “war on terrorism” has been replaced by “overseas contingency operation”.

This approach has failed to get the benefits expected. While many countries, particularly in Europe and Africa, express high confidence in Mr. Obama (he enjoys 95 percent approval in Kenya, for example), in Muslim-majority countries in the Middle East and South Asia, disapproval ranges from 56 percent to 65 percent.

The Pew report also notes that Mr. Obama “receives overwhelmingly low ratings from publics in predominantly Muslim countries for his job performance on Iraq and Afghanistan.” Approval ratings ranged from 4 percent to 22 percent, with disapproval ranging 53 percent to 84 percent. Low ratings of support are also encountered among pro-Iran Shia population in Lebanon, and Jewish Israelis and Muslims on the Israelian/Palestinian issue.

Medvedev meets Hamas

Russia on Thursday rebuffed Israel’s criticism of President Dmitry Medvedev’s meeting with the leader of the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas this week.

Calling Hamas “a terror organisation in every way”, Israel’s Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday it was “deeply disappointed” that Medvedev met the group’s exiled leader Khaled Meshaal during a visit to Syria this week.

Russia, the United States, European Union and the United Nations, make up a quartet of Middle East mediators. The U.S., EU and Israel consider Hamas a terrorist group. Russia insists that Hamas should not be isolate

“Hamas…is a movement supported by the trust and sympathy of a significant part of Palestinians,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrei Nesterenko said in a statement. “We have regular contacts with this movement.”

“It is known that all other participants of the Middle East quartet are also in some sort of contact with Hamas leadership, although for some unknown reason they are shy to publicly admit it,” Nesterenko said.

New anti-terrorist bill would replace and expand current laws in Israel

The Jerusalem Post reports that the Israeli government finished drafting comprehensive legislation to fight terrorism and distributed it to cabinet ministers, human rights groups and other interested parties for comments and criticism.Those who received copies of the bill have until June 4 to submit their input. After considering it, the Justice Ministry will bring the proposal to the Ministerial Committee on Legislation for approval as a government bill.

The legislation is based on several existing laws, including the 1948 Ordinance on Terrorism, the Law Prohibiting the Funding of Terrorism and the 1945 Emergency Defense Regulations.

According to the Justice Ministry spokesman’s office, the first two laws and parts of the emergency regulations will be revoked after the new bill is approved by the Knesset. The bill also incorporates existing temporary legislation dealing with the detention terms for security suspects during their interrogation.

According to the ministry,

“the aim of the proposed bill is to give appropriate tools to state authorities in the areas of criminal and civil law to cope with terrorist organizations and the terrorist threats that Israel faces… We propose to give the law authorities a variety of tools in the criminal and civil areas. Their intertwined purpose is to prevent and foil acts of terrorism, damage the organizational and financial infrastructure that nourishes it, and bring violators to justice.”

Israel is following in the footsteps of many other countries that introduced anti-terrorism legislation in the wake of 9/11. But since several laws were already in place here to fight terrorism, including the 1948 Prevention of Terrorism Ordinance and the 1945 Emergency Defense Regulations, Israeli authorities were not in as much of a hurry to legislate as were other Western countries, a human rights expert told The Jerusalem Post.

The only new law that Israel introduced prior to the current bill was one dealing with the financing of terrorist organizations.

However, the bill is not just a compendium of existing legislation but includes changes and, in many cases expansions, of current provisions.

The second section of the law, for example, defines in detail the type of illegal activity pertaining specifically to terrorism, including leading, membership in, providing services to or publicly identifying with a terrorist organization. Other crimes include incitement to terrorism, failure to prevent a terrorist act, threatening to perpetrate a terrorist act, and training or giving instruction to perpetrate a terrorist attack.

The bill also proposes to stiffen punishments for these crimes.

For example, the maximum sentence for anyone carrying out a criminal act that is defined as an act of terrorism will be twice the sentence prescribed by the Penal Law for “regular” criminal acts, up to a ceiling of 30 years in prison. A person sentenced for a terrorist crime to life in prison will only be allowed to have his sentence commuted after 15 years. Those serving life sentences for “regular” crimes may have their sentences commuted after seven years.

The human rights official warned that the type of anti-terrorism legislation passed by Western nations after 9/11 tended to be broad in its wording and granted governments a great amount of power on the basis of information it did not have to disclose in public. It also gave the government broad administrative powers against suspects without the need to prove guilt in court. Israel’s proposed legislation must be examined with these facts in mind, the official said.

Israel: New Comprehensive Counter-terrorism Memorandum Bill

Ido Rosenzweig and Yuval Shany have a post on Terrorism and Democracy Newsletter (Issue No. 17, May 2010) commenting the new Israelian counter-terrorism memorandum bill.


On 21 April 2010, the Ministry of Justice published a comprehensive counter-terrorism memorandum bill (hereinafter: “the Draft Bill”).  This Draft Bill is intended to provide the authorities with the necessary tools for their counter-terrorism efforts and coordinate the relevant legislation, which is currently dispersed in a number of statutes (some of which originate in the British Mandate over Palestine). A key concept underlying this comprehensive legislation is that the complicated nature of terrorist activity, which employs various methods and has a variety of goals, requires a multi-faceted and robust response.

In this article, we briefly discuss a few of the issues raised by the Draft Bill as part of the IDI’s Terrorism and Democracy Newsletter coverage of relevant legislation in the field of counter-terrorism.


Despite Israel’s long struggle against terrorism, there is no comprehensive legislation governing the Israeli “war on terror”. To date, the Prevention of Terrorism Ordinance 5708-1948 and the Prohibition on Terror Financing Law 5765-2004 constitute the main legislative tools at the authorities’ disposal. [3]  In order to supplement their counter-terrorism legal arsenal, they have often used provisions of the criminal code and administrative measures, such as the Defense (Emergency) Regulations of 1945, the Incarceration of Unlawful Combatants Law 5762-2002, and the Criminal Procedure (Detainee Suspected of Security Offense) (Temporary Order) Law 2006. However, these legislative tools have left a few crucial questions unanswered. For example, they have not clearly defined what constitutes “an act of terrorism”.

On 21 April 2010, the Ministry of Justice published a long draft bill (the Draft Bill and the explanatory note appended thereto extend over 105 pages). The Draft Bill has been distributed to local NGOs and interest groups for comments, and after obtaining their comments, the Ministry of Justice will finalize the drafting of the bill and submit it to the Knesset.

The Draft Bill

According to the explanatory notes attached to the Draft Bill, the proposed measures were drafted in order to balance the need to act effectively against the threats posed by terrorists, on one hand, and the obligation to preserve and secure the values of democracy and human rights, on the other hand.

The Draft Bill offers a very broad definition of “terrorist organization”:  “a group of people who act to execute an act of terrorism or in order to enable or promote the execution of an act of terrorism.” This definition may include organizations that do not execute terrorist acts per se, but rather encourage and promote them directly or indirectly. For example, it appears that the “Dawah” organizations, which function as the community services system of Hamas by providing educational, medical and welfare services to its supporters and to the general Palestinian population, would qualify as terrorist organizations under the proposed bill. The philosophy underlying such a broad definition is that auxiliary organizations are meant to generate public support for terrorist organizations, such as Hamas, through the humanitarian activities they conduct. Moreover, the bill assumes that auxiliary organizations can also be used to channel money for the purpose of financing the terrorist activity of the terrorist organizations and recruiting new members for terrorist activity.

With regard to the issue of membership in a terrorist organization, the Draft Bill suggests that due to the vagueness of this feature (normally, there are no formal procedures for membership in terrorist groups), membership in a terrorist organization should be deduced from a person’s general behavior (if he or she are taking part in the organization’s activities). Moreover, the Draft Bill creates a rebuttable presumption, which places the burden of proof on a person that was once a member of a terrorist organization to show that his or her participation in the organization’s activities has terminated.

One of the innovations of the  Draft Bill is found in its attempt to create a new special crime of holding a senior position in a terrorist organization. It also creates new criminal offenses for individuals who publicly support terrorist organizations, attempt to recruit new members, or incite terrorist acts.

The explanatory note states that the Draft Bill’s definition of “act of terrorism”, which is partially based on the General Assembly’s decision on Measures to Eliminate International Terrorism,  does not distinguish between actions directed against soldiers and actions directed against civilians. The stated justification in the Bill is that terrorism is not a legitimate method to achieve political, ideological, or religious goals regardless of the identity of the victims.

The Draft Bill also attempts to clarify and expand the measures that may be taken against the property of terrorist organizations. In this context, it broadly defines the property of terrorist organizations as including property that is either owned by an organization, or if found in the organization’s complete or partial possession or custody.

As part of the  process of codifying existing counter-terrorism legislation, the Draft Bill is intended to replace the current methods for designating terrorist organizations provided by the Prevention of Terrorism Ordinance (declarations by the Minister of Defense) and the Prohibition on Terror Financing Law (foreign declarations). Nevertheless, it should be noted that the Draft Bill does not revoke the procedure for designating an entity as an unlawful association under the Defense (Emergency) Regulations of 1945. Under the Draft Bill, once a terrorist organization has been designated, its status as a terrorist organization will be accepted as a proven fact by the judicial system in any legal procedure (with the exception of petitions brought before the High Court of Justice).

Finally, the Draft Bill is being used to codify an appropriate set of rules that will enable Israel to ratify the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism and to implement the obligations set out in the International Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material.


The attempt to create a comprehensive counter-terrorism law will afford to the Israeli authorities more legal tools that are closely tailored to Israel’s counter-terrorism needs. For example, by introducing new terrorist crimes, the new law will allow the state authorities to detain and seek the conviction of a greater number of terrorists. Eventually, it seems that one of the possible outcomes of the increase in the use of criminal proceedings under the proposed law will be a decrease in administrative detentions under other laws.  At the same time, the criminal definitions offered in the proposed law appear to be very sweeping in nature, and it is doubtful whether they strike an acceptable balance between security needs and human rights concerns.

Although the new Draft Bill attempts to consolidate and coordinate all the relevant legislation, it does not revoke the counter-terrorism provisions of the Defense (Emergency) Regulations. One possible explanation for this omission may be the desire to retain the harsh provisions of the Regulations which, unlike new legislation, are shielded from constitutional review pursuant to the 1992 Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty (which cannot be applied retroactively). This casts some doubts on the stated desire of the government to strike a constitutionally acceptable balance between security and human rights in the field of counter-terrorism.

The Draft Bill, and some other specific issues it raises – such as its provisions on pre-trial detention, control orders and electronic surveillance – will be subject to further analysis in forthcoming IDI publications.