Three Israeli rebel MKs vow to vote against controversial West Bank bill

Without their support, the government would not be able to pass the bill, which must be reapproved by the end of June.

THE KNESSET building in Jerusalem holds one of the world’s smallest legislatures. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
THE KNESSET building in Jerusalem holds one of the world’s smallest legislatures.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

Rebel MKs Idit Silman (Yamina), Ghaida Rinawie Zoabi (Meretz) and Mazen Ghanaim (Ra'am - United Arab List) said on Monday that they would vote against a directive giving Israel legal jurisdiction over Israelis living in the West Bank, which has been approved every five years since 1967.

Without their support, it would not be able to pass the bill, which must be reapproved by the end of June.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz said he was looking for a non-legislative solution to the problem.

"I instructed the defense system to map out which regulations can be brought by regional commanders if the legislation gets stuck."

Defense Minister Benny Gantz

Justice Minister Gideon Sa'ar told his New Hope faction on Monday that not passing the bill would cause chaos. He said that by opposing the bill, opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu was harming residents of Judea and Samaria and advancing his own personal interests at the expense of the state.

 Former Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu is seen smiling at the Knesset in Jerusalem, on May 23, 2022. (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST) Former Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu is seen smiling at the Knesset in Jerusalem, on May 23, 2022. (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

Netanyahu harming West Bank? Not a surprise

Rebel MKs Idit Silman (Yamina), Ghaida Rinawie Zoabi (Meretz) and Mazen Ghanaim (Ra'am - United Arab List) said on Monday that they would vote against a directive giving Israel legal jurisdiction over Israelis living in the West Bank, which has been approved every five years since 1967.

Without their support, it would not be able to pass the bill, which must be reapproved by the end of June.

Justice Minister Gideon Sa'ar told his New Hope faction on Monday that not passing the bill would cause chaos. He said that by opposing the bill, opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu was harming residents of Judea and Samaria and advancing his own personal interests at the expense of the state.

"All coalition members must support the government's bill," Sa'ar said. "Any coalition member who does not support such a fundamental bill is actively working to dismantle the coalition. Being in the coalition does not only mean receiving. There is also responsibility. Whoever does not support it cannot wash their hands claiming innocence. A country cannot be run this way.

Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman said no one should be surprised by Netanyahu preventing a bill from passing that would prevent West Bank chaos. 

"He has harmed Judea and Samaria more than anyone else," Liberman said. "That is tradition with Netanyahu. That is part of his DNA." 

"For power, anything is permitted for him. There is no conscience."

Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman

Liberman recalled Netanyahu as prime minister implementing the Hebron and Wye accords, voting for the Gaza Strip disengagement, freezing West Bank construction in 2009 and releasing Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar in the Gilat Schalit prisoner exchange. 

Labor leader Merav Michaeli warned rebels on the Left not to let Netanyahu come back to power, along with Religious Zionist Party MK Itamar Ben-Gvir as a minister.

Religious Zionist Party MK Bezalel Smotrich said he is not concerned about harming his constituents in Judea and Samaria by halting the bill. He said it is better to bring down the government, form a right-wing coalition and then pass it.

"A coalition that cannot pass its bills and is artificially respirated by Ahmad Tibi and the Joint List is illegitimate and bound to fall," Smotrich told his faction. "Residents of Judea and Samaria are strong and understand the importance of bringing down the anti-Zionist government.