Homes in West Bank settlement.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Senior MKs on the Right on Tuesday sought to apply all laws to Israelis living in Judea and Samaria, with a bill that would require the IDF to issue orders identical to laws the Knesset passes.
According to the initiative, within 45 days of the Knesset passing a law, the OC Central Command would order that it apply to the West Bank.
The cabinet discussed taking similar action with labor laws earlier this week, requiring Israeli businesses in the West Bank to provide Israeli minimum wage and benefits to all employees, Israeli and Palestinian, among other changes.
The new legislation was proposed by Land of Israel Caucus heads Yariv Levin (Likud) and Orit Struck (Bayit Yehudi), and was co-sponsored by coalition chairman Ze’ev Elkin (Likud), Bayit Yehudi faction chairwoman Ayelet Shaked, Shas faction chairman Avraham Michaeli, Knesset Law, Constitution and Justice Committee chairman David Rotem (Yisrael Beytenu) and United Torah Judaism faction chairman Menahem Eliezer Moses.
According to Levin and Struck, the bill would not change the status of the land in the West Bank and does not violate the tenets of international law by which Israel behaves in the area.
Levin and Struck explained that 350,000 Israeli citizens live in the West Bank who vote for the Knesset, but their lives are not run by Israeli law and government, rather by the Defense Ministry.
As of now, only 16 laws were applied to the West Bank via legislation, which could be seen as a step toward annexation, including tax laws, the requirement to serve in the IDF and criminal law. Any other laws were applied via a military order.
The bill’s explanatory portion states that “the law in Judea and Samaria today relies on Ottoman, Jordanian, British and Israeli laws, as well as many [military] orders... This system creates legal confusion and intolerable differentiation between the rights and duties of Israeli citizens who live in different parts of the land.”
The MKs called the situation “unacceptable from a democratic point of view,” which they said harms the rights of Israelis living in the West Bank and leads to discrimination against them.
“This bill will protect the rights and duties of Israeli residents of Judea and Samaria,” Struck and Levin wrote in a joint statement.
“There is no justified reason for Israeli citizens living in Judea and Samaria not to be able to have their rights and duties established by their representatives in the Knesset, who were elected to do so, even if sovereignty is not applied to the land.”
Meretz leader Zehava Gal- On slammed the bill, calling it “a malignant combination of annexation and apartheid.
“Applying Israeli law is de facto annexation of the occupied territories, and applying it only to settlers creates racial discrimination,” she said. “This is another step in the bizarre campaign to do everything to discredit Israel in the world and turn it into a leper in the eyes of the international community.”