Coalition is rescuing Judea and Samaria from Netanyahu, Smotrich - Shaked

The interior minister said her office was working on alternative legal options for West Bank residents, should the coalition fail to pass the emergency legislation.

 Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked speaks at a conference in the Mishor Adumim Industrial park (photo credit: DOTAN GUETA)
Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked speaks at a conference in the Mishor Adumim Industrial park
(photo credit: DOTAN GUETA)

The government is seeking to preserve the benefits and rights for settlers that the Knesset stripped from them earlier this week, Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked said at a news conference in the Mishor Adumim Industrial park on Wednesday.

“We have a responsibility to pass this law, and I believe it will pass,” said Shaked, adding that in the past, laws that were initially rejected have been approved the second time around.

"This law is important and essential… The opposition has to understand that it can not go to battle against the residents of Judea and Samaria"

Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked

“It is absurd that we have gotten to this situation,” she said. “This law is important and essential. The opposition has to understand that it cannot go to battle against the residents of Judea and Samaria.”

At issue is a legislative go-around that allows for the 450,000 Israelis living in the West Bank to function as if they were residents of Israel.

This includes issues such as drivers’ licenses, health insurance, being drafted into the army, tax payments, and identification cards.

 OPPONENTS CURRENTLY include Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked even though, as minister of justice until 2019, she had been committed to signing the Istanbul Convention.  (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90) OPPONENTS CURRENTLY include Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked even though, as minister of justice until 2019, she had been committed to signing the Istanbul Convention. (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)

The law has been renewed every five years without much fanfare since it was first put in place in 1967, but was singled out by the opposition parliamentarians on the Right as a hot-button issue that could bring down the government.

It was rejected on Monday by a 58-52 vote. If the coalition fails to muster a majority for its passage at the end of June, settlers will be left without those rights.

Shaked accused right-wing parliamentarians in the opposition – former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu who heads the Likud Party, and Bezalel Smotrich who heads the Religious Zionist Party – of adopting the agenda of the left-wing Arab opposition Joint List.

“I am sorry that Netanyahu and Smotrich adopted the Joint List’s agenda and overthrew this important law,” she said. “Together with it [the Arab Joint List], they are rejecting security and Zionist laws.”

"Together with it [the Joint List Party] they are rejecting security and Zionist laws."

Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked

Shaked said her office was working on alternative legal options for the residents of Judea and Samaria should the coalition fail to pass the legislation by the end of June.

“It is a basic law that relates to day-to-day life,” Shaked said. “If it fails, the residents of Judea and Samaria can’t get ID cards or change addresses.”

Shaked added that the Interior Ministry has orders to service Israelis living in Judea and Samaria irrespective of whether the law is in place.

Meetings are now being held with the Justice and Defense ministries to prepare for the possibility that the law will not be reinstated.

“Is it good?” Shaked asked. “No, it’s bad. We have to make every effort for the law to pass. Judea and Samaria is an inseparable part of the state of Israel, and the opposition has to worry about its residents.”

 Shomron regional council head Yossi Dagan speaking in a protest against the government plan to cut down the number of new housing units planned to be built on the West Bank, outside the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem, May 8, 2022. (credit: SAMARIA REGIONAL COUNCIL) Shomron regional council head Yossi Dagan speaking in a protest against the government plan to cut down the number of new housing units planned to be built on the West Bank, outside the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem, May 8, 2022. (credit: SAMARIA REGIONAL COUNCIL)

West Bank council head responds

Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan, however, said it was the existing coalition that Shaked represents that was “bad for the residents of Judea and Samaria.”

He took issue with the presence of the Arab-Israeli Ra’am Party in the coalition.

This is a government “where there are non-Zionist ministers” and “members of Knesset who support terror,” Dagan said. “The settler bill that ensures residency rights will not pass. The time has come to create a fully right-wing government.”