RAMALLAH, Feb 20 (JMCC) - An Israeli government committee will meet Sunday to consider legislation placing Israeli settlements
in the occupied West Bank
under Israel law.
Currently, Israeli settlers are subject to military regulations, meaning that construction decisions are made by the ministry of defense and settlers must appear in military courts if they are alleged to have broken the law.
The right-wing proposal is intended to strip defense minister Ehud Barak
of his control over settlement expansion, reports the
Jerusalem Post, and make it more difficult to implement a settlement freeze. The legislation is being fielded by National Union legislator Uri Bank.
Bank said that his party does not believe it will pass at this time, but they wanted to open the debate. “The government should be using this type of legislation to counter what the Palestinians have been doing for the last couple of months,” said Bank.
Palestinians have been making unilateral moves and Israel should be doing the same thing, particularly with respect to legislation that should have been passed years ago, he said, adding that the bill was originally designed not for diplomatic considerations, but to solve the legal issues of settlers who live under military rule.
Given that Palestinians live under the authority of their government in the West Bank, there is no reason why Jews should not enjoy the same rights, he added.
“The bill does not harm the territorial principles accepted by modern law, which determines that people living in a certain geographical region all be subject to the same justice system.
This is because of the legal change that took place in the region with the foundation of the Palestinian Authority and the subordination of nearly all of the Arab population to a different legal system,” according to the bill’s explanatory notes.