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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu - wary of controversy
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MK Elkin
Photo: Dudi Vaaknin
Knesset to vote on 'boycott bill'
Knesset set to pass bill punishing initiators of boycott of settlements as Quartet convenes to discuss Palestinian statehood bid.

Knesset Member Ze'ev Elkin announced Monday morning that the "boycott bill" will be voted on by the Knesset plenum on Monday despite previous reports suggesting it will be postponed.

  

It was reported that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu demanded that the Knesset vote which was set to be put through its second and third reading, be postponed to avoid presenting Israel in a negative light as the Quartet gears to meet for a crucial discussion over the intention of the Palestinian Authority to seek UN recognition for a Palestinian state

 

 

But Coalition elements claimed that Netanyahu had told MK Elkin, who initiated the bill, that there was no problem in putting it up for a vote. "There is no change. Chances are the vote will be held and a final decision will be made in the morning," Elkin said. The PM's Office said in response: "The issue is being checked by all relevant parties."

 

Earlier, Knesset Member Yohanan Plesner (Kadima) turned to the Knesset's Legal Counsel Eyal Yinon seeking his legal opinion with regards to the law that has garnered harsh responses.

 

Yinon has started formulating a draft response which will be published on Monday. The Knesset's legal counsel is not known as a supporter of the bill, but the phrasing seems to be subtle and focuses on one problematic component in the bill.

 

Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin announced that he would hold a consultation with Netnayahu ahead of the vote and seek out his position on the matter. Yet Rivlin's initiative has become redundant in light of the prime minister's current decision.


Netanyahu in Knesset (Photo: Noam Moskowitz)

 

The bill, which is backed by the Cabinet, was proposed by Coalition chairman MK Ze'ev Elkin (Likud). It states that any boycott against Israel or any group located within its territory, including Judea and Samaria, will be labeled a civil offense and its initiators will be subject to litigation.

 

The bill was approved by the Knesset's Constitution, Law, and Justice Committee two weeks ago. The deputy attorney general said at the time that the bill was shaky, but defensible in the High Court of Justice.

 

Senior legalists questioned the bill's validity, telling Ynet it is unlikely to stand up to High Court scrutiny.

 

The bill's wording would have to be meticulous if it is to avoid being sees as racist and anti-democratic, a legal expert told Ynet.

 

Moran Azulay, Attila Somfalvi and Aviad Glickman contributed to the report

 

 


First published: 11.07.11, 00:16
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