Saturday, March 25, 2023

Vote may break on laws settling Israeli coalition

TEL AVIV, Israel ( Associated Press) — Israel’s ruling coalition is gearing up for a major test, with a vote expected on Monday on the legal status of Jewish settlers in the occupied West Bank. If the vote is not passed, the fragile union could collapse.

Emergency regulations that existed for decades have created a separate legal system for Jewish settlers in the West Bank, which imposes parts of Israeli law on them – even if they live in occupied territory.

These rules expire at the end of the month and if they are not renewed, the legal system that Israel has cultivated for its settlers in the West Bank since annexation of the region in 1967 will be abandoned. will be thrown into question. It could also change the legal status of the 500,000 settlers who lived there.

Proponents of extending the law say they are merely seeking to maintain the status quo and preserve the government’s shelf life. Opponents say the expansion of the rules would deepen an unfair system that pits Israelis and Palestinians in the same occupied territory under different legal systems, which rights groups have equated to apartheid.

The coalition, made up of eight ideologically different parties, came together last year and promised to address the divisive issues that could now threaten its very existence, one of those issues – the status of the Palestinian state. And Israel’s occupation of the West Bank – risks ending it.

One of the coalition’s members, the nationalist New Hope, has threatened if the coalition cannot pass the measure. Legislators and party leaders were scrambling to rally votes and even parties that support Palestinian independence and criticize Israel’s settlement venture were asked to vote to save the coalition. was expected.

“It is not easy or easy for us, but we understand that there is a broader goal and that the important goal is the survival of this government,” Yar Golan of the Dovish Meretz party told Israeli Army Radio.

He said that if the law was allowed to expire, it would lead to chaos in the West Bank and urged all coalition members to vote in favor of the coalition, even if it violates their politics.

One of the parties debating their vote is the Arab Islamist group Ram. Which made history as the first Arab party to join the Israeli coalition. Voting in favor of expanding the law could anger its constituents. Meanwhile, the opposition, composed mainly of nationalist parties, appears ready to abandon its ideology and will vote against expanding the rules to try to bring down the coalition.

If New Hope leaves, it can give the opposition the necessary votes to initiate new elections or form a new government.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s government has faced obstacles before. Coalition whip Idit Silman of Bennett’s smaller, nationalist party left the coalition earlier this year, leaving the government with 60 seats in the 120-seat Knesset – escaping immediate defeat but struggling to govern. Another legislator from Meretz, Gaida Rinawi Zobi, also stepped down, but later rejoined after being promised benefits for his constituents, the Palestinian citizens of Israel.

Bennett’s government came together last year in the midst of two years of political catastrophe, with no clear winners in four elections. The eight coalition members were united by their goal of ousting former leader Benjamin Netanyahu – who is now the head of the opposition from where he is battling corruption charges – and called on them to work around their issues to keep him out of power. has demanded.

Israel occupied the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem in the 1967 Middle East war. It later included East Jerusalem in a move that was not recognized internationally, and pulled out soldiers and settlers from Gaza in 2005. But hundreds of thousands of Israelis live in a patchwork of more than 2.5 million, along with more than 120 settlements in the West Bank. Palestinians.

Since Israel has never occupied the region, it is technically under military rule, creating a startling legal reality. For Jewish settlers in the West Bank, most of Israel’s criminal and civil laws apply. They vote in Israeli elections, enlist for compulsory military service and pay their taxes to the state.

But these Basic Laws apply to Israelis on an individual rather than geographical basis, meaning they apply to Israelis regardless of their citizenship and their location.

To avoid accusations of de facto annexation, Israel relies heavily on military orders rather than parliament to enforce laws on the settlers. When flaws in this patchwork system come to the fore, the Supreme Court of Israel takes action.

Palestinians, meanwhile, are subject to a different set of laws, which add to the confusion – and often inequality.

This legal position will remain in place if the law in question is passed on Monday. If this fails to pass, the settlers will automatically come under military rule, like Palestinians in the West Bank, according to Emmanuel Gross, an Israeli expert on criminal and international law and a former military judge.

Basic, everyday ties between the settlers and the state would be broken: Israel would not be able to impose taxes and the police would not be able to investigate criminal offenses, among other things, Gross said.

“The entire legal basis of what happens to the settlers today will be canceled. It can create chaos,” he said, adding that he hopes the government will find a way to ensure that the rules are extended.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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