Military Order 101: Banning protests in Palestine

Military Order 101: Five decades of banning protests in Palestine
3 min read
27 August, 2017
Military Order 101, passed by Israel on 27 August 1967, has banned Palestinians from peaceful political expression for the past five decades.
Palestinians have lived under Israeli military law since 1967. [Getty]
Since the day the occupation began on 7 June 1967, Palestinians in the West Bank have lived under the jurisdiction of Israeli military law, placing severe restrictions on nearly every aspect of civilian life. This also goes beyond everyday life with a ban on all freedom of expression in the occupied territories.

Israeli authorities immediately issued Military Proclamation No.2 following the Six-Day War, granting the area commander of Israel's military full legislative, executive and judicial authorities over the West Bank and its civilian population.

Since 1967, Israeli generals have issued military decrees which are in turn enforced by military courts.

One such law, which has long impacted the ability of Palestinians to peacefully organise and resist the occupation, is Military Order 101, passed 50 years ago on 27 August.

Under the law, Palestinians are prohibited from attending or organising any assembly, vigil, or procession of a political nature with more than ten people, effectively banning all protests.

The order applies to gatherings in both public and in private homes, and punishment for breaching the order is ten years imprisonment and steep fines.

Palestinians are prohibited from attending or organising any assembly, vigil, or procession of a political nature with more than ten people

Under Military Order 101, the display of Palestinian flags, emblems, posters or the publication of documents and images of a political nature are also banned, resulting in the complete censoring of political expression.

Chanting a slogan or waving a flag in a public place in support of an organisation deemed as "hostile" by Israel, including trade unions, student unions and political parties, are also grounds for detention under Military Order 101.

The law was used extensively during the First Intifada, or uprising, in the 1980s but waned after the Oslo Accords in 1993 and the creation of the Palestinian Authority.

It is still in place, however, and together with all Israeli military law applies in Areas B and C, which form nearly 82 percent of the West Bank not under PA security control.

Prominent Palestinian human rights activist Issa Amro was jailed in 2016 for attending a protest in Hebron without a permit.

Part of the evidence being used against him is a T-shirt with Martin Luther King's famous line "I have a dream" written on it.

The slogan was deemed political under Military Order 101 and therefore criminal, Amnesty International says.

Most Palestinians are not detained under Military Order 101, but the decree is used against prominent political activists to ensure a long-term conviction, together with other orders such as administrative detention, or arrest without trial.

Once detained under Order 101, Palestinian defendants are tried under Israeli military courts - which have a 99.71 conviction rate - leaving no recourse to seek justice.