Netanyahu Camera Bill to Surveil Polling Stations Blocked
Hardline Netanyahu-led Likudniks supported Big Brother legislation to let parties bring cameras into polling stations — a scheme to intimidate voters opposing him and claim fraud if his reelection bid fails next week.
On Monday, the Knesset’s Arrangement Committee rejected the measure by a 12 – 11 majority.
The Adalah Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel commented on the scheme, saying:
“This bill – whose sole purpose was to influence the upcoming elections via racial incitement and overt attacks on law enforcement bodies and the very rule of law itself – has already caused harm by injecting bald-faced lies into the public political discourse under the premise of preserving the ‘purity of elections,’ ” adding:
“It is now abundantly clear to all that this proposed law would never pass a constitutional litmus test.”
“Now is the time to launch a criminal investigation into the Likud party’s covert surveillance camera operation in the April election.”
“Indeed, evidentiary materials handed over to police confirmed that the mere deployment of the cameras in polling stations interfered with the proper course of the elections.”
During April 9 elections, hidden body cameras were used in Arab area polling stations, an intimidating tactic to minimize anti-Netanyahu turnout.
His political future at stake, he wanted the abusive practice repeated during September 17 elections.
He falsely claimed that “only someone who wants to steal the election would oppose the placement of cameras,” adding:
“It is not a coincidence that Benny Gantz and Lapid oppose cameras, because they want the election to be stolen.”
Claiming he supports cameras in polling stations to deter fraud is a thinly veiled Big Lie, its main purpose to reduce turnout of Arab citizens he despises, comprising around 20% of the population.
On Monday, Israeli Central Elections Committee (CEC) chairman/Deputy Supreme Court Justice Hanan Melcer ruled against cameras in polling stations — except in special cases approved in advance by the CEC, adding:
Any other use is illegal, filming of voters in polling stations strictly prohibited. He’ll establish a pilot CEC observer unit, using cameras during ballot counting, not while voting is ongoing.
In response to the CEC ruling, Adalah attorney Sawsan Zaher said the following:
“The decision of Israel’s Central Elections Committee confirms and reinforces Adalah’s statements from the April elections.”
“The Likud party’s placement of surveillance cameras in polling April) constituted ethnic profiling of Arab citizens and was intended to deter them from voting.”
“The placement of cameras was likewise a violation of the constitutional right to vote freely and with privacy.”
“Justice Hanan Melcer also indicates that Likud’s camera operation in the last election – conducted without any legal basis – was an illegal disruption of the election day process, one which culminated in a criminal offense.”
“The attorney general should have ordered a criminal probe into the matter immediately following the election, as Adalah repeatedly demanded, and there is no justification for his failure to have done so.”
“Supervision of the electoral process is the exclusive responsibility of the Central Elections Committee.”
Other parties welcomed the CEC ruling. Joint (Arab) List head Ayman Odeh tweeted:
“The “cameras bill falied and Netanyahu is going to fight a battle against the Arab community, the justice system, and the entire democratic domain (sic).”
Bibi’s sacrifice ceremony is reaching its end. We’ll meet at the ballot box.”
Blue and White Party head Benny Gantz, Netanyahu’s main rival, tweeted:
His “bluff in an attempt to conceal the loss of deterrence in the south will not work on Israeli citizens. The only forger in the political system is Netanyahu.”
Polls show a close race, its outcome uncertain.
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