Israeli Justice Minister: All Legislation Must Mention Settlements

'We have waited 50 years and it is time to change our approach,' says another minister

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked.
Eliyahu Hershkovitz

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked said on Tuesday that the Ministerial Committee for Legislation will no longer discuss any government-sponsored bills that don’t mention the West Bank settlements. Shaked said that starting this month, “Every government bill will relate to the residents of Judea and Samaria, be it through primary legislation, a general’s order or any other way.”

Shaked was speaking at the Knesset on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Six-Day War and the conquering of the West Bank and Gaza, which was organized with the Yesha Council of settlements. “Besides the well-known Regularization Law, only four laws deal with residents of Judea and Samaria: the Foster Care Law, the National Service Law, the Economic Efficiency Law, and the Prohibition of Discrimination in Products Law."

Tourism Minister Yariv Levin, who initiated the rule with Shaked, said: “We have waited 50 years and it is time to change our approach. The law will apply to Judea and Samaria, and if there is a special reason not to, it will be explained and examined.”

According to the directive, the committee will declare if the law pertains to the territories as well prior to every discussion of a bill in the committee, which Shaked heads. Currently, Israeli law is applied in the West Bank through military orders or through inclusion in the regulations of the regional councils in the territories. Still, when a law is incorporated into a council regulation it only applies to the Jewish communities in their jurisdiction. Only in a few cases does legislation explicitly apply also to the other communities in Area C, including Palestinian communities.

It is unclear if the new rule is a declaration that will not change governmental legislation in practice or if it will lead to a delay in future legislation. Associates of Shaked were unable to cite examples of past laws that have gone through the committee that would be delayed by the new rule or current bills that will have to be altered.

This step follows Shaked’s declaration last month that she and the attorney general will move to impose Israeli law in the West Bank. She said a panel would review every bill and decide if it is to apply to the settlements through a military order.