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Israel's intention to annex the West Bank revealed

Aug. 20, 2018 12:46 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 24, 2018 12:33 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Adalah, the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, warned on Monday that the Israeli government’s response to the petition, filed to the Israeli Supreme Court, signals Israel's intention to proceed with annexation of the occupied West Bank.

The Israeli government submitted legal materials to the Israeli Supreme Court declaring that "the Knesset (Israeli parliament) is permitted to legislate laws everywhere in the world and it is authorized to violate the sovereignty of foreign countries via legislation that would be applied to events occurring in their territories."

This statement was declared on August 7th in a written response, which the Israeli government had submitted to the Israeli Supreme Court, regarding to the petition against the Settlement Regularization Law filed by Adalah and Al Mezan Center for Human Rights in Gaza on behalf of 17 local Palestinian authorities in the West Bank.

Adalah and fellow petitioners argued that the Israeli Knesset is not permitted to enact and impose laws on territory occupied by Israel. Hence, the Knesset cannot enact laws that annex the West Bank or that violate the rights of Palestinian residents of the West Bank.

The Israeli government’s lawyer, Arnon Harel, wrote in the legal materials submitted to that "The Knesset is permitted to impose the powers of the military commander of the West Bank region as it sees fit. The Knesset is permitted to define the authorities of the military commander as it sees fit. The authority of the government of Israel to annex any territory or to enter into international conventions derives from its authority as determined by the Knesset."

Harel concluded "the Knesset is allowed to ignore the directives of international law in any field it desires," which is a direct violation of international law and international humanitarian law.

In response, Suhad Bishara and Myssana Morany, lawyers of Adalah, who filed the petition against the Settlement Regularization Law, said "the Israeli government's extremist response has no parallel anywhere in the world. It stands in gross violation of international law and of the United Nations Charter which obligates member states to refrain from threatening or using force against the territorial integrity of other states – including occupied territories. The Israeli government's extremist position is, in fact, a declaration of its intention to proceed with its annexation of the West Bank."

The petition was submitted by 17 Palestinian municipalities and three human rights organizations from the West Bank, Israel, and Gaza Strip jointly petitioned the Israeli Supreme Court on February 8th 2017 to cancel the controversial Settlement Regularization Law under the pretext that it violates international humanitarian law and is labeled as unconstitutional.

The Settlement Regularization Law aims to "legalize," under Israeli law, illegal Israeli settlement outposts, which have been built on private Palestinian land.

The law sets out a new process to legalize about half of Israel's settlement outposts, as well as about 3,000 additional homes built illegally in settlements, which Israel recognizes as legal. Essentially, this law authorizes a further massive land theft of private Palestinian land by Israel.

The European Union and the United Nations strongly condemned the law, and even Israel's attorney general announced that he would not defend it in court.

The petitioners said "the law not only harms the private property of Palestinians, but is also intended to impinge upon their right to dignity by clarifying – without hesitation – that the interests of the settlements and the Israeli Jewish settlers in the West Bank take priority over the rights of Palestinians and therefore is permitted to dispossess Palestinians from their property."

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