Middle East

Delays as Israel tries to extend bill regulating civilian law over settlers in West Bank

The coalition is delaying voting on a bill to renew the extension of Israeli criminal and civil law to settlers in the occupied West Bank after opposition parties pledged not to support any government-sponsored legislation.

According to Haaretz, 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.

Israeli Justice Minister Gideon Sa’ar aims to extend it for another five years. The delay means the vote is now due to be held in a week’s time.

However, the Arab majority Ra’am Party and Joint List bloc both oppose an extension of the bill which implies de facto Israeli sovereignty over the occupied Palestinian territories and means Palestinians in the area are subject to military laws while illegal settlers would be tried in civilian laws.

Sa’ar made an explicit threat yesterday to the survival of the coalition, as he said all members must support an extension to the emergency bill regulating Israeli civilian law over West Bank settlers.

“Without this law, Israelis would be tried through the military courts, which is something we certainly would not want. Were it not for this law, security prisoners in Israeli prisons would have to be held in military prisons in Judea and Samaria,” Saar said, using an Israeli name for the occupied West Bank.

“The police would not be authorised to investigate crimes committed by residents of Judea and Samaria, even if they took place in Israel.”

Among the legal arenas that are impacted would be the right of the government to tax settlers living in illegal settlements, as well as their right to receive state health insurance and national insurance.

Should the coalition fail to extend the regulations, Israeli law – for the most part – would not apply to the illegal West Bank settlements.

READ: Shaked advances plan to increase number of Jewish settlers in Negev, Jaleel

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