Knesset to Debate Bill That Would Apply Israeli Law to Settlements

A potential bombshell of a bill will be debated on Sunday in the Knesset – one that would apply Israeli law to West Bank Settlements currently subject to military law and make all future cosntruction freeze and evacuations impossible.  It would also strip Defense Minister Ehud Barak of the ability to authorize and prohibit construction in Jude and Samaria as any construction would be then subject to the Ministry of Housing like construction projects within the Green Line.

The bill is sponsored by the National Union party and has the support of 27 Knesset Members, including several from the majority Likud and Yisrael Beiteinu parties.  It was first filed in the 15th Knesset and passed preliminary readings and then was shelved during the 16th and 17th Knessets because of a lack of support.

According to Uri Bank, the secretary of the National Union party, the bill is supposed to grant West Bank residents equal rights and guarantee them, not annex the actual land.  He said that the bill has no diplomatic considerations; its goal is simply to solve the legal issues of residents of the West Bank who are subject to martial law and military tribunals for arbitration while paying the same taxes and fees as regular Israeli citizens.

The bill comes on the back of Palestinian unilateral actions that have been detrimental to Israel in the diplomatic and political fronts.  Bank says the appropriate action is for Israel to act unilaterally in response.  As a result, Yuli Edelstein will ask Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to move all West Bank construction issues to a special committee that will deal with the issue.

Bank does not think the bill will pass, but his faction wants the issue raised.  The rationale is that the PA population is under their government and therefore all Israelis should be subject to their government’s laws, not that of the military.

The committee debating this bill will also debate a bill concerning settlement evacuation submitted by Shas and aims to make any setter evacuation subject to the residents’ consent as well as the requirement that Israeli protect those who remain in Judea and Samaria under a peace treaty.  It also will make recognition of Israel as a Jewish State precondition to any peace agreement.