Legalization Law Will Stain Israel’s Law Books

The legalization law is expected to be brought for a second and third readings at the Knesset tomorrow. Opposition to the law has been expressed by security experts, by the Attorney General and even by Prime Minister Netanyahu himself.If passed, this law will turn Israeli citizens to thieves and stain Israel’s law books.

The meaning of the legalization law:

1. Legalization of thousands of housing units on private Palestinian lands: The purpose of the proposed legislation is to retroactively legalize housing units built on private Palestinian lands in illegal outposts and settlements. The law will allow for the retroactive legalization of 3850 housing units, the legalization of 53 illegal outposts and expropriation of approximately 8,000 dunams of private Palestinian lands.

2. Permission to steal: According to the draft law, any person can steal any land in the West Bank, as long as he does so for the purpose of settlement. Furthermore, this bill grants a green light for settlers to takeover additional private lands in the future, knowing that they can be “regulated” for their usage. Thus, the draft law will practically allow the government and private individuals to steal lands of Palestinians without any legal implications.

3. A fatal blow to democracy: The draft law is meant to retroactively cancel Supreme Court rulings that do not fit the pro-settler ideology. It is an attempt to change the rules of the democratic game and enable the government to get rid of the restrictions of the law.

4. A contradiction of Israeli and international law: The Supreme Court ruled that the Israel’s authority to expropriate private Palestinian land in the Occupied Territories is limited to cases in which those benefiting from the expropriation will also be Palestinians. An expropriation of private Palestinian lands for Israelis, meaning, for the purpose of settlement, is illegal according to high court rulings as well as according to international law. In Israel proper, the government is allowed to expropriate lands for public purposes (and not for other private purposes). However, the private lands of Palestinians in the West Bank – who do not constitute as citizens with equal rights in a democracy, but rather residents with no voting rights living under a military rule – cannot be taken for the use of its own citizens.

5. Legislation in an area that is not part of the state of Israel: The draft law would apply only to the West Bank, namely to an area outside of the sovereign state of Israel, which is under military rule. The Palestinian residents that will be affected by the law do not have the right to vote for the Knesset, and therefore this is clearly an undemocratic legislation. Because the Israeli parliament does not have legal authority to legislate in the West Bank, the bill requires the head of the Central Command to issue an order implementing the content of the law.

For Peace Now’s report on the implications of the legalization law (also known as the regulation law) click here.