On August 25, 2017, Amnesty International posted an article on their website, accompanied by a social media campaign, to mark “50 years since Israel issued Military Order 101,” claiming that the law “punishes Palestinians for peaceful political expression.” Amnesty’s analysis of “four facts” grossly manipulates and misrepresents the law; the flawed analysis and biased approach are typical of the NGO’s disproportionate singling out of Israel for condemnation, concentrating solely on the conflict with the Palestinians and erasing the context of terrorism.
The following demonstrates Amnesty’s four distortions and falsehoods in its analysis of Military Order 101 (which was formulated during the 1967 war):
(1) Amnesty International manipulates the reader by stating that “unless an Israeli military commander provides authorization in advance, Palestinians in the West Bank are banned from attending and organizing a procession…” This statement is incorrect for several reasons. First, under international humanitarian law, the legal paradigm that Amnesty claims applies to the conflict, there is no right whatsoever to assembly or to engage in protests. Nevertheless, the Israeli military order allows for such events to take place. The only demonstrations requiring a permit under the law are those that raise the specter of incitement to violence or have links to terror groups. Other gatherings can be held without prior permission. Second, the requirement to receive a permit from Israel only applies to Area C of the West Bank, which according to the 1993 Oslo Accords is under Israeli jurisdiction.
Also omitted by Amnesty is the requirement in most democratic countries (if not all) to receive a permit for political demonstrations and other protests that exceed a certain number of participants or that may pose concerns to public order and safety. This requirement is also fully in keeping with international human rights law and specifically the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
(2) Amnesty falsely analyzes the law as it is applied, and claims that Palestinians are not allowed to display flags or other content that is “politically significant.” In reality, the law refers to the display of flags of incitement or violence and is only enforced on rare occasions against those who fly terrorist group flags, and not the Palestinian flag as Amnesty falsely alleges. Can Amnesty show a case in the last 20 years when a Palestinian resident of the West Bank was indicted for flying the Palestinian flag?
(3) Due to its lack of knowledge and expertise, Amnesty fails to correctly understand what is meant by a “hostile organization” in the Arab-Israeli conflict, and thus falsely states that verbal expressions of support for such groups are deemed illegal. Again, the law is referring to designated terrorist organizations, such as the Hamas and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) – both of which are recognized as terrorist organizations by the UK, US, EU, Canada, and Israel.
(4) Amnesty International again manipulates the reader by solely citing the maximum potential sentence for “anyone breaching Military Order 101” while ignoring (deliberately obfuscating?) the substantial sentencing discretion granted to the judiciary. In practice, (as in most legal systems) the actual sentences given to those convicted under this law are significantly lower. Can Amnesty point to a case where the maximum sentence was imposed?
This publication is yet another example of how Amnesty is reckless with facts in order to promote a political agenda, rather than human rights.