Thursday, February 25, 2010

Knesset Proposal: Annex All Jewish Towns in Land of Israel

Hillel Fendel
A7 News

The Ministerial Committee for Legislation will consider a bill proposed by MK Yaakov Katz (Ketzaleh) on the annexation of Jewish towns in Judea and Samaria (Yesha). The bill was supported last year by Prime Minister Netanyahu himselfThe legislation committee is charged with deciding whether or not the government will back proposed legislation – often the critical factor in whether a given bill will be passed or defeated. It will vote on Katz’s new bill at its next weekly meeting, this coming Tuesday (after the Purim holiday).

The bill proposes that the Jewish towns of Judea and Samaria be annexed to Israel, just as eastern Jerusalem and the Golan Heights have been annexed in the past.

The bill was proposed in the previous Knesset by former MK Benny Elon, whom Katz succeeded, in many respects, in the Knesset. The bill was co-signed at the time by many MKs, among them Binyamin Netanyahu and other current Likud party Cabinet ministers such as Limor Livnat, Silvan Shalom, Yisrael Katz, Gideon Saar, Michael Eitan, Gilad Erdan, Yuval Steinitz, and more. MKs from other parties also signed at the time.

Explaining the proposed law, Katz said, “Following the liberation of parts of our national homeland in the 1967 Six Day War, Israeli law was applied to the areas in which 300,000 Jews live in the liberated neighborhoods of Jerusalem, and to those in which reside 20,000 Jews in the Golan. The time has now come to create a similar situation to the 350,000 Jews of Judea and Samaria. I am sure that the ministers, who co-signed the law last year, will now reaffirm their support and their signatures.”

Only Jewish towns annexed

Some 26 MKs are currently co-signed on the bill. No ministers or deputy ministers are among them, in keeping with the requirement that legislation sponsors not serve in those positions. Among the co-signers are MKs Levine, Hotovely, Elkin, Danon and Shama of the Likud; Rotem, Michaeli and Miller of Israel Our Home; Orbach of the Jewish Home; Ariel, Eldad, and Ben-Ari of the National Union; Moses and Maklev of United Torah Judaism, and Ze’ev, Vaknin, and Amsalem of Shas.

The legislation states: “The law, jurisdiction and administration of the State shall apply in the following cities, regional councils, and local councils, and the communities therein,” followed by a list of the Jewish cities and councils in Judea and Samaria: “Oranit, Alfei Menashe, Elkanah, Efrat, Ariel, Beit El, Beit Aryeh-Ofarim, Beitar Illit, Mateh Binyamin, Jordan Valley, Givat Ze’ev, Gush Etzion, Har Adar, Mt. Hevron, Dead Sea Scrolls, Modiin Illit, Maaleh Adumim, Maaleh Ephraim, Emanuel, Kedumim, Kiryat Arba, Karnei Shomron, and Shomron.”

The proposal emphasizes that it does not call for the annexation of all of Judea and Samaria to the State of Israel, but only of the Jewish towns there and their residents. Acknowledging that most or all of the Arabs in Judea and Samaria are now subject to Palestinian Authority law, it states, “The current situation creates an absurdity, in that the only citizens who are discriminated against are the Israelis – who must pay income tax and various fees, but do not receive all the rights of citizens; they are tried [in certain cases] in military courts, not civilian ones.”“The Knesset has already passed several measures applying parts of Israeli law to the Jewish towns in Yesha [Judea and Samaria]," the proposal continues, "but not in a uniform, systematic manner. As [former Meretz party MK] Prof. Amnon Rubenstein has written in his book entitled Constitutional Law: 'From a logical standpoint, it would be simpler if the Army administration [that officially governs Judea and Samaria] would apply Israel law in totality on all the Jewish local councils, instead of this patch-up job the government currently utilizes.'”

“This legislation is hereby proposed in order to stop the discrimination against the Israeli citizens and in order to create uniformity in the law.”

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