The Law for the Regulation of Settlement in Judea and Samaria, which was overturned on Tuesday by the High Court of Justice, was unofficially dubbed the “Theft Law.” It is hard to think of a more accurate name for the law, whose entire objective was to legally “regulate” the theft of Palestinian land.
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The High Court did well to remove this anti-constitutional stain from the law books. At this time, when a man who is accused of criminal activity is heading the government, which was formed only thanks to a mass deception of the electorate and is plotting to annex territories, that is not to be taken for granted.
The High Court said nothing that the legislators didn’t know. Every layman understands that this is a discriminatory law, which approved the theft of Palestinian land by Israeli Jews. The MKs who promoted the law had no need for the explanations of Supreme Court Justice Esther Hayut to understand that they were legislating a law that “violates the right to property and the right to equality and dignity of the Palestinians,” and creates “discrimination between Israeli and Palestinian residents of the region.” These are not side effects of the law, they are its declared objectives. The law deliberately steals, harms and discriminates.
The attorney general, the Knesset legal adviser and the legal adviser of the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee repeatedly explained to the legislators that the law is unconstitutional. In spite of everything, the law was approved in the Knesset plenum on the final votes for it in 2017.
The legislators did not act out of ignorance, but out of greed for real estate. Since it is clear to them that this is a patently unconstitutional law – which allows Jews to steal land from the Palestinians – there is a need at the same time for complementary legislation, the “override clause,” which would prevent the court from striking down laws only because they are unconstitutional.
The right is trying to tie the hands of the High Court by means of the override clause in order to fulfill all of its sinful desires: to steal, to evict, to discriminate, to annex and not to grant citizenship.
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Netanyahu himself is opposed to the law. He knows that it causes trouble for Israel in the International Criminal Court. In addition, the law blunts his basic capitalistic belief: the right to property. In the beginning Netanyahu even acted to prevent the law’s passage. But at some point he apparently calculated that it was preferable for him to let the High Court stop the settlers, and thereby to profit twice: when he supports the law he will be popular with the right, and when the High Court overturns the law, he will get to sic the right on the High Court.
The court did the right thing – which guarantees that there will be an attempt by the right to try to bypass the ruling. Benny Gantz and his people, who joined the government in an attempt to halt the anti-democratic processes from within, must be vigilant and prevent the Knesset from overcoming the High Court.
The above article is Haaretz’s lead editorial, as published in the Hebrew and English newspapers in Israel.