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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 3/22/10

Freedom of Association Restrictions and Discrimination in Israel and Occupied Palestine

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Freedom of Association Restrictions and Discrimination in Israel and Occupied Palestine - by Stephen Lendman


A December 2009 Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network "Monitoring Report on Freedom of Association in the Euro-Mediterranean Region" assessed it in EU and Middle East countries, including Israel and Occupied Palestine, the topic of this article.


Freedom of Association in Israel


Instead of improving in 2009, it deteriorated even though Israel's Supreme Court recognizes it as a fundamental human right. However, three statutory law types restrict it, the first includes the 1980 Law of Associations that regulates the formation and operation of NGOs, corporations, and cooperative associations, and the 1999 Companies Law.


The second involves criminal laws, including the 1948 Prevention of Terrorism Ordinance, the 1994 Law Implementing the Interim Agreement on the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and 2005 Law on the Prohibition of Terror Funding.


The third involves direct or indirect freedom restrictions to form professional associations, requiring certain professionals belong to one to practice. For example, the Bar Association for lawyers.


Relevant International Law and Israeli Defiance


Israel ratified all core international human rights conventions relating to free association rights, including the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). It requires signatories to respect the right to life, due process, judicial fairness, fair elections, and freedoms of expression, assembly and religion.


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