Left-wing Lawmaker Says Party Must Back Divisive West Bank Bill to Save Israel's Coalition

The bill ensuring citizens in West Bank are subjected to Israeli law will be passed by alternate right-wing government regardless, Meretz MK Michal Rozin argues from the left flank of the coalition

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Haaretz
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Meretz lawmaker Michal Rozin in the Knesset, in Jerusalem, in October.
Meretz lawmaker Michal Rozin in the Knesset, in Jerusalem, in October.Credit: Knesset Spokesperson
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Haaretz

Meretz lawmaker Michal Rozin said on Saturday that her party has no choice but to support a divisive bill to renew a regulation which applies Israeli law to citizens in the West Bank, as contesting the bill would ultimately topple the government.

Speaking at an event in Tel Aviv, Rozin said that if the bill extending the regulation doesn't pass, Israel's government will dissolve and right-wing parties will renew it within a week.

The measure, Emergency Regulations – Judea and Samaria, Jurisdiction and Legal Aid, which was first enacted in 1967, is due to expire at the end of June, and Justice Minister Gideon Sa’ar seeks to extend it for another five years.

"I ask myself, if we have an alternative and what is that alternative?" Rozin said. "If I thought that bringing down this government would be followed by the creation of a center-left government, I would do it right now."

Addressing the regulation itself, Rozin said Meretz has always believed there are two options on the table. Either Israel can annex the West Bank and its millions of Palestinian residents – thus abandoning "the Zionist vision" – or push forward with the two-state solution.

"Meretz always believed in the two-state solution" she said. However, she warned that while failing to extend the regulation would lead to the collapse of the government, it would not prevent the regulation from ultimately passing as "the right will pass them within a week."

On Monday, the coalition postponed a Knesset vote to renew the regulation, fearing it would not be able to secure the majority support extending the policy. Coalition leaders believe that United Arab List lawmakers will not support extending the regulation, and rightist parties in the opposition announced on Monday that they would oppose any legislation submitted by the government. The vote has been delayed by one week.

A senior source in the United Arab List said party leaders were still divided and would rather delay the vote to the end of the Knesset’s summer session.

The regulation empowers Israeli courts to try Israeli citizens who have committed crimes in the West Bank and for Israeli authorities to prosecute and arrest West Bank residents. If the measure is not extended, Israeli citizens living in the West Bank will be subject to military law.

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