Aerial view of Ariel settlement in West Bank 370.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
The IDF has issued new regulations for working mothers living in Area C,
designed to provide them with the same rights as their counterparts within the
Last month Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu had said he
would support Knesset legislation to impose Israeli law protecting the rights of
pregnant and working mothers onto Area C if the military failed to provide a
suitable alternative by October 13.
But on Sunday he seemed to be
satisfied that a solution had been found and did not move forward with that
MK Orit Struck (Bayit Yehudi) argued that the new military
legislation failed to meet the standard of equity, when it comes to ensuring
that the labor rights of working mothers over the pre-1967 lines matches those
afforded women who live within the Green Line.
“It has actually made the
situation worse,” she said.
Under the former regulation, women working in
West Bank settlements had the right of appeal to a labor court. Now their cases
would not automatically be sent to the labor court and could instead be heard by
a local court, Struck said.
She called on Netanyahu to keep to his word
and to approve legislation that would go to the Knesset and which, if it passed,
would extend existing Israeli labor laws protecting the rights of working
mothers to Area C.
It is the only way to ensure equal rights for working
mothers, Struck said.
She pushed for extending the legislation after a
pregnant woman who lived in Judea and Samaria complained to Struck that she was
fired because protective legislation did not apply to Area C of the West
This area is under Israeli military and civilian control, and as
such, many laws do not apply there. If Israel were to fully extend all its laws
into Area C, it would be the equivalent of annexing the area.
Such a move
would meet stiff opposition from the international community, which believes
that the bulk of Area C will one day be part of a Palestinian state.
late August, Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein wrote a legal opinion on the
matter in which he said that labor laws were of a “territorial nature” and that
imposing them on Area C of the West Bank would have implications for Israel in
the international legal arena.
But he clarified that personal laws – such
as those which apply to education, taxes and army service – can be applied to
the West Bank without those same implications.
Weinstein said that labor
issues could be addressed through military legislation.
Once the issue of
lack of equity between laws on either side of the Green Line was raised, the
government agreed last month to begin a process to upgrade military regulations
to prevent legal discrimination for those who live in Judea and Samaria. As part
of that process, it began to evaluate all labor laws and intended to complete
its work within the next three months.