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Emergency Regulations


During the British mandate of Palestine and as adopted by Israel, rules allowing the restriction of civil rights in emergencies.

On 22 September 1945, Britain's high commissioner in Palestine issued Defense Emergency Regulations that in turn were based on the 1937 Palestine (Defense) Order in Council. That order gave the commissioner broad powers to adopt measures needed in defense of "public safety" and to suppress mutiny. The regulations were originally enacted to subdue the Palestine Arab Revolt of 19361939. They were later used against Zionism's guerrilla organizations fighting to remove British rule from Palestine.

The regulations were carried over after the State of Israel was established (15 May 1948), under the 1948 Law and Administration Ordinance. On 21 May 1948, the Provisional State Council proclaimed a state of emergency that has never been revoked, although various sections have been amended or adapted. The regulations, consisting of 170 articles divided into fifteen sections, allow the government and the military to introduce extreme measures and abolish the most elementary rights, such as freedom of movement, travel, and work. Thus, between 1948 and 1966, approximately 90 percent of Israeli Arabs were placed under military administration, with military governors appointed directly by the defense minister. The governors drew their virtually unlimited powers from the Emergency Regulations. The regulations have also been widely used to detain Israeli Arabs and Palestinian refugees without trial, without formal charges, and without judicial or legislative review.

See also Palestine Arab Revolt (19361939).


Lustick, Ian. Arabs in the Jewish State: Israel's Control of a National Minority. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1980.

Rolef, Susan Hattis, ed. Political Dictionary of the State of Israel, 2d edition. New York: Macmillan, 1993.

benjamin joseph

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