Coalition MKs seek to triple cost of High Court petitions for Palestinians
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Coalition MKs seek to triple cost of High Court petitions for Palestinians

Lawmaker Yoav Kisch says proposal part of an effort to counter human rights groups' 'legal intifada against Israel'

An illustrative photo of a Palestinian man climbing on rubble left after a house was demolished in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Al-Tur on March 26, 2014, on the grounds that it was built without a construction permit. (Sliman Khader/Flash90)
An illustrative photo of a Palestinian man climbing on rubble left after a house was demolished in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Al-Tur on March 26, 2014, on the grounds that it was built without a construction permit. (Sliman Khader/Flash90)

Palestinians and organizations representing them would pay three times as much as Israelis to petition the High Court, under a proposal on the agenda for a Knesset committee debate on Wednesday.

The bid to raise the fee from NIS 1,786 ($510) to NIS 5,400 ($1,540) aims to curb what its lead proponent, Likud MK Yoav Kisch, told the Haaretz newspaper was a “legal intifada” (uprising) being waged by Palestinians and their representatives in “flooding” the High Court with petitions against the demolition of houses built without permits.

Kisch will need the backing of both Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Jewish Home), who the report said is currently opposed, and of the Constitution, Law and Justice Committee for the increase to be written into the regulations and brought into immediate effect.

Of 11 committee members, including the chairman, he has reportedly secured the signed backing of five — Nurit Koren (Likud), Tali Ploskov (Kulanu), Oded Forer (Yisrael Beytenu), Uri Maklev (United Torah Judaism) and Michael Malchieli (Shas).

The two Jewish Home party members of the committee, chairman Nissan Slomiansky and Shuli Moalem, did not sign; nor did Likud MK Benny Begin.

MK Yoav Kisch seen during a meeting of the Finance committee in the Knesset on November 6, 2017. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Two other coalition members who are not on the committee have signed on — Bezalel Smotrich (Jewish Home) and Miki Zohar (Likud).

The proposal, aimed officially at non-Israelis and those representing them, does not apply to foreigners applying to immigrate to Israel or obtain citizenship.

“The new front of the human rights organizations against Israel is to flood the Israeli court system with thousands of petitions against the demolition of illegal buildings,” Kisch told Haaretz. “The weight of the petitions amounts to a legal intifada, which threatens the High Court.

“We are talking about more than 1,000 petitions a year being submitted by or on behalf of Palestinians. A rise in the cost of the fee for whoever is not an Israeli citizen would aim to prevent and reduce the phenomenon of legal attrition.”

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