Knesset committees to discuss applying new laws to West Bank

Right views move as equality for all Israeli citizens; Left sees it as creeping annexation.

January 3, 2018 13:22
2 minute read.
West Bank

The West Bank . (photo credit: RONEN ZVULUN / REUTERS)


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Legislative committees will be instructed to discuss each new bill’s application to the West Bank, the Knesset House Committee decided on Wednesday.

Laws do not automatically extend to the West Bank and usually require a military order for them to apply because the IDF governs the area. Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked and Tourism Minister Yariv Levin, along with many others on the Right, have generally seen this as a form of discrimination against some Israeli citizens based on where they live.

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The Left, however, has seen moves to change the situation as a form of settlement annexation.

House Committee chairman Yoav Kisch (Likud) originally proposed a change to the Knesset rules that would require committees to discuss how to apply each bill to the West Bank, whether in the text of the law or through a military order. Knesset Legal Adviser Eyal Yinon suggested that he instruct committee legal advisers to hold such discussions, instead of changing Knesset regulations, and the House Committee accepted the idea.

Kisch pointed out that “many laws have been legislated without a clear explanation of how they’ll be applied [to the West Bank].”

“We won’t allow this situation to continue,” he added. “This decision will bring a change in how residents of Judea and Samaria are treated and start a new situation that will stop the discrimination against them.”

Shaked said Israel plans to remain in the West Bank, and therefore, must deal with that reality.

“We’re not in Judea and Samaria in order to disappear one day,” Shaked said. “We’re here for 50 years already, and we will be here for another 5,000 years. Our policy is clear: Settlement in the entire Land of Israel and normalization of life in Judea and Samaria.”

According to Levin, “The inequality between residents of Judea and Samaria and residents of the rest of the country is apparent. Until we apply sovereignty to all parts of Israel, we must fix this absurdity.

“When the IDF wants to evacuate a house that extended an extra meter, they have the forces to do it, but for decades they don’t have the manpower needed to fill the basic legal requirement to apply laws to Judea and Samaria,” Levin said.

Meretz MK Tamar Zandberg said the move was “ignoring reality,” and hinted that it would create an apartheid-like situation.

“There is a territory that is outside of Israel’s borders, and what you’re suggesting is to have two parallel legal systems in the same land, where the only measure that determines which system applies to whom is a person’s race. This has a name, and you know what it is,” she said.

Laws applying to the West Bank would apply to any Israeli citizens living there, regardless of ethnicity.

Amid heated debate in the committee meeting, MK Mossi Raz of Meretz called Kisch a “terrorist,” leading to his removal from the room.

Kisch said Raz “crossed a redline,” and his remarks were “serious incitement.”

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