According to reports, on Sunday (29.10) the Ministerial committee for legislation is expected to discuss a bill proposed by MK Yoav Kish (Likud) calling to annex Ma’ale Adumim, Gush Etzion and Givat Ze’ev to Jerusalem, and excise the Palestinian neighborhoods of Kufr Aqab, Shuafat refugee camp and Anata from Jerusalem.
The Ministerial committee’s discussion of a bill usually occurs days prior to its introduction in the Knesset through a preliminary reading, and during it the government determines its position regarding the bill. Typically, coalition members would then vote in the Knesset based on the government’s position. Thus, if the law will pass the ministerial committee, it will likely also pass a preliminary reading.
The bill calls to expand Jerusalem’s jurisdiction so that it includes the jurisdictions of the settlements Ma’ale Adumim and Givat Ze’ev, as well as the local councils of Gush Etzion, Beitar Illit and Efrat. All of the above will act as sub-municipalities of Jerusalem, with elected councils which authorities will be determined by the Minister of the Interior. Additionally, the bill states that the Palestinian neighborhoods of Kufr Aqab, Shuafat Refugee Camp and Anata – which are currently apart of Jerusalem and are located beyond the separation wall – will be considered sub-municipalities of Jerusalem.
The bill does not give much detail regarding its legal implications on the status of the territories added to the municipal boundaries of Jerusalem in terms of applying the Israeli law in them, or in terms of the different bodies that will operate in them – and not by coincidence. The meaning of the bill is a de-facto annexation of these territories to Israel, even if it would be possible to argue that this will not constitute de-jure annexation.
The bill states that its implementation would allow to maintain a “demographic balance” between Jews and Palestinians in Jerusalem, and will allow for the expansion of construction of housing units and industry in the area. It is clear that the idea is to allow rapid settlement construction in settlements near Jerusalem and create facts on the ground which will prevent the chance for a two state solution, and at the same time excise Palestinian neighborhood by the formation of “sub-municipalities” or if you will, Bantustans, devoid of resources which will allow them to be self-sufficient.
Peace now: “This is a reckless step of a government that seems to be determined to ruin the possibility for a two state solution. If passed, this bill will constitute a de-facto annexation and a clear step towards a de-jure annexation. We cannot let this bill become law!”