The proposed ban on filming of IDF soldiers is “absurd” and means the “end of democracy,” experts told RT, adding that the images showing abuse by Israeli soldiers show “how morally corrosive the occupation” has become.
The proposal, lobbied for by Israeli right-wing politicians, states that anyone who “filmed, photographed, and/or recorded soldiers in the course of their duties, with the intention of undermining the spirit of IDF soldiers and residents of Israel, shall be liable to five years imprisonment,” Israeli media reported.
The draft bill accuses human rights groups, including B’Tselem, Machsom Watch Women, and Breaking the Silence, which repeatedly filmed the abuses committed by Israeli soldiers, of waiting for any IDF activity “that can be presented in biased and tendentious form.”
READ MORE: Nothing to hide? Israel considers ban on filming IDF soldiers, 5yr jail terms for offenders
“This is an absurd piece of populist legislation, [it is] meant to limit and constrain the freedom of speech and freedom of protest in Israel, something that contradicts the founding principle of the country,” Brian Reeves, director of development & external relations at PeaceNowIsrael group told RT.
According to Reeves these videos often “shed light on aspects of the conflict” that might not “get brought up” in the public debate in Israel. “These videos bring to the fore both [IDF] misconduct that should be corrected and also brings to the TVs the images of how morally corrosive this occupation has become for all of us,” he added.
The activities of the rights group B’Tselem which was the first to publish a blood-chilling video of IDF soldier Elor Azaria finishing off an injured and motionless Palestinian man may also be banned under the proposed bill. The video filmed in 2016 triggered worldwide condemnation and questioned the Israeli army’s ethical code.
“When you don’t allow people to take pictures of soldiers … you stop the freedom of press and speech. Then you move to prevent taking photos of policemen. This is the end of democracy (sic),” said Moshe “Mossi” Raz, member of the Knesset for the left-wing Meretz political party told RT.
Raz believes that Azaria’s case was probably the reason why the politicians are trying to bring in the legislation. “Because of that film, he was taken to court and to jail. Without that, no chance that it [arrest and jail] could happen,” he stated.
According to Raz such videos are important when it comes to investigations into possible IDF human rights violations. Right wing politicians behind the legislation think that soldiers are “holy and can’t make mistakes or go to court,” he added.
The bill, proposed amid world condemnation of Israeli violence at the Palestinian’s ‘Great March of Return’ protests that’s saw 119 people killed, was slammed by the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). If IDF troops have nothing to hide, “there is no harm in documenting their actions against Palestinians,” the PLO statement read.
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