Israeli flag flutters over settlement of Ofra 311 R.
(photo credit: Laszlo Balogh / Reuters)
Wednesday threw its support behind a Knesset bill regarding museum funding,
which, according to its creator MK Uri Ariel (National Union), was designed to
start a legislative process that would take a step toward annexing Judea and
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The move comes amid failed attempts by right-wing politicians to
generate legislative and governmental support to fully annex Judea and Samaria,
which is under military rule. As such, Israeli law does not fully apply
In the absence of such support, Ariel told The Jerusalem Post
he had come to believe that it could be better to advance the matter in small
To initiate the process, he asked the Knesset on Wednesday to
approve a preliminary bill that would allow museums in the settlements to apply
for government funding.
It passed on a preliminary reading, by 51 to 9
votes. To become law, the bill must now go through a number of legislative
hoops, including a vote by the Knesset Education, Culture and Sports Committee.
It must also pass three readings in the Knesset plenum.
During a brief
speech before the Knesset, Ariel said, “I’m starting a project to examine
legislations that do not apply to Israeli residents in Judea and
Every week, he said a legislator would propose an amendment to
existing laws, so that one by one, they would be applicable in Judea and
In this way, he said, he hoped to end the “discrimination”
against the residents of Judea and Samaria. He later told the Post
viewed his initiative as a “step toward annexing Judea and Samaria.”
bill drew a strong show of support from Culture and Sport Minister Limor Livnat
(Likud), who, during a lengthy speech, called Ariel’s museum bill “worthy” and
“right,” and added that it had the government’s support.
“The bill is
designed to determine that all Israeli citizens – wherever they are and wherever
they live – are citizens with equal rights. They are citizens who have equal
status,” she said.
Israeli citizens can’t be denied rights just because
they live in settlements such as Ma’aleh Adumim or Kiryat Arba, said
“The government of Israel does not discriminate against Israeli
citizens that live in Judea and Samaria,” Livnat said.
The culture and sport minister added that this was her position as a citizen of Israel, and as a
minister. She also said that it was the position of the Israeli government, and of its ministerial
Her spokesman subsequently told the Post
minister was supporting the law regarding museum funding, and not
With regard to Ariel’s process of amending legislation to
include Judea and Samaria, the spokesman said that the minister would examine
each bill according to its merit.
She would likely support some, but not
others, he added.
The Prime Minister’s Office confirmed that the Knesset
Ministerial Legislative Committee had authorized the bill for a preliminary
During the plenum debate, however, MK Taleb a-Sanaa (United Arab
List - Ta’al) warned that the passage of such a bill would create a “very
dangerous precedent” of applying Israeli laws outside its territory.
is the start, he warned, “of a creeping annexation of the occupied territories.”
The process of annexation, he added, should be stated clearly and openly to the
MK Danny Danon (Likud) told the Post
after the vote, “What
we did today is a small, important step toward the full annexation of the Jewish
communities of Judea and Samaria.”
MK Alex Miller (Yisrael Beiteinu) who
chairs the Knesset Education, Culture and Sports Committee, said he supported
the law in the plenum and would do so in his committee as well.
we should apply Israeli law completely in Judea and Samaria,” said Miller.