Palestinian Parliamentarians say Israeli Legislation aims to annex West Bank

Ma’an News Agency | – –

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — The Israeli parliament, the Knesset, passed a controversial bill on Tuesday that would allow verdicts from military court proceedings in the occupied West Bank to be submitted as evidence in Israeli civilian courts, a move which critics claim is another step aiming to illegally annex the West Bank by applying Israeli domestic laws in the territory.

During a debate over the bill — proposed by MK Anat Berko from the ruling Likud party —

Israeli Parliament

opposition MKs argued that the bill constitutes an extension of the Israeli occupation and the government’s control over the West Bank, Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported.

MK Zouheir Bahloul from the left-wing Zionist party was quoted by Haaretz as saying the bill would be a “de-facto annexation of military court verdicts to civilian courts,” adding that the Israeli government would essentially be “applying Israeli sovereignty over the West Bank, which is occupied territory.”

Previously, Israeli military rule, which Palestinians in the West Bank are subjected to, was separate from any civil legal proceedings inside Israel. The new bill would act to synchronize these formerly distinct systems and allow Israeli civilians to use verdicts made in the military courts for civilian cases against Palestinians. Berko reportedly argued in the Knesset debate that the law would “make it easier for victims of terror to demand compensation from convicted terrorists in civilian courts since they will not have to begin the legal process from zero, rather can base on evidence already produced in military courts.”

However, since the Palestinian territory is under a military occupation, Israeli authorities are mandated by international law to follow the local legal systems already extant in the occupied territory, which in the case of Palestine falls within three legal systems: Ottoman, British, and Jordanian law.

Any application of Israeli domestic legislation or courts would be in violation of international law.

The decision is an unprecedented move by Israeli authorities and follows a right-wing upsurge in the Knesset with ultra-right ministers routinely pushing for the annexation of the West Bank.

Berko dismissed claims of annexation, claiming that “on the contrary, the law aims to fix discrimination [in the courts] in favor of the Palestinians, because while Palestinians can sue Israelis for civilian compensation based on a criminal conviction, Israelis cannot do the same to Palestinians,” adding that the bill would “balance” the legal situation.

However, Israeli criminal convictions are part of the country’s domestic law, which governs Israeli citizens, while Palestinians are under the Israeli military’s jurisdiction, which is separate from any civilian legal proceedings in Israel.

MK Osama Saadi from the Joint List, representing parties led by Palestinian citizens of Israel, was quoted in Haaretz as saying that “this law is a continuation of a series of laws that we will witness in the near future.”

“Call the child by its real name and don’t stand for a laundry of words – we’re talking about a creeping annexation,” he added.

At the end of last year, Israeli ministers advanced the “Legalization bill,” also known as the “regulation” or “formalization” bill, which would see thousands of dunams of privately-owned Palestinian land seized and dozens of illegal Israeli outposts in the occupied West Bank retroactively legalized.

Opponents of the bill also claimed the legislation was another strategy to annex the West Bank.

The legislation passed its first reading in the Knesset, but still needs to pass its second and third readings to become law. However, it is believed that the controversial bill has been strategically stalled until President-elect Donald Trump is official sworn in as president of the United States, as he has come out as a vocal supporter of Israel’s illegal settlement policy.

Via Ma’an News

5 Responses

  1. Had not noticed that Israel nor the US for that matter gave a damn about international law and ignore it unless it is to their own advantage.

  2. So after Israel votes to annex the West Bank then BDS will no doubt be endorsed by the US and all NATO countries as Russia has been sanctioned for “annexing” Crimea.

  3. From a short term, practical point of view, there is little to prevent Israel from “formally” claiming all the land west of the Jordan River.

    Trump will prevent any action by the UNSC, the Arab leadership is impotent and European leadership has lots of other stuff to deal with. So, yes, now is a good time to make it “official” that Israel “owns” all the land west of the Jordan River.

    BUT . . .

    Israel’ s actions will have very, very bad consequences for Israel in the long term.

    The basic question is what happens to the millions of non-Jews living west of the Jordan River? No matter what Israel does, there will be MAJOR NEGATIVE consequences to Israel.

    – Israel could follow the lead of many other countries, including the USA, and make every human living west of the Jordan a full citizen of Israel, but doing so would rapidly mean Israel would not be a Jewish religious state. Economically this is probably the “best” thing to do, but it would destroy the “Jewish Homeland” myth and would be a big ego blow to Jewish Nationalist.

    – Israel could make the non-Jews “resident non-citizens” and discriminate against them, but that will lead to continuous massive internal bloodshed, which will eventually lead to international condemnation as well as massive economic problems (companies can not thrive in a “combat environment”). When humans do not feel hopeful about the future, they tend to go into “burn the place down” mode. Note that while the USA can veto actions of the UNSC, the UNGA can invoke UNGA 377 and over-rule the UNSC. If UNGA 377 is invoked, the USA and Israel would only get one vote each with no veto and we can all guess how lopsided that vote against Israel would be leading to massive economic damage to Israel (basically UN sanctioned BDS).

    – Israel could “encourage” the non-Jews to “self deport” but there is the “slight” problem that there is no place on earth for the “excess” people to go. The USA, Europe and the rest of the Mid East will NOT allow massive “transfers” of millions of humans and in the case of Europe and ME, will fight Israel initially politically, then economically then, if necessary, they will eventually be forced to deal with Israel militarily. Again UNGA 377 could be invoked.

    Basically, by settling all of the land west of the Jordan River without thinking through the consequences, Israelis have created a massive, deadly time-bomb that they have no way to defuse. Sure, the next few years may be livable for the Jewish people in Israel, but after that, it is most likely that life in Israel will become extremely intolerable for most people (Jews and non-Jews alike).

    I find it ironic that one of the key social documents on earth, the Torah (old testament Bible), continuously cautions against Pride and Hubris, yet it appears that no one in Israel has ever understood their own documents and have just ignored the warnings in a fit of ego. It appears that Israeli will just have to re-learn the principals of the Torah the hard way.

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