Knesset advances bill to ban Israelis from contacting Palestinian Security Services

Palestinian Security Services exploited loophole to legally gather intelligence from Israeli nationals.

By David Hellerman

Seeking to close a loophole, the Knesset advanced legislation last week to prohibit Israelis from having contact with the Palestinian Security Services.

The Knesset plenum gave its approval to a preliminary reading of an amendment to Israel’s Penal Code. The amendment includes the Palestinian Security Services in the Penal Code’s definition of foreign agents by changing the wording from agents from “a foreign state” to agents from a “a foreign entity.”

Israel does not recognize the Palestinian Authority as a state. However, a loophole was created by the the removal of the Palestine Liberation Organization from Israel’s list of terror organizations.

Ad Kan, a right-wing Israeli organization, first exposed that the Palestinian Security Services was exploiting this loophole to legally gather intelligence from Israeli nationals.

The bill was submitted by Likud MK Avi Dichter, who previously served as director of the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) and Minister of Internal Security.

“The prosecution of Israelis who cooperate or provide information to the PA or Israel’s hostile bodies hiding behind a European or international screen is not a matter of left or right, but a national matter that must be uprooted,” Dichter said.

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The bill has more legislative hurdles to clear before becoming law.