Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked confirmed Monday her plans to spread Israeli law to Yehudah and Shomron. Speaking on Army Radio, Shaked reiterated what she had said in a speech Sunday night – that “within a year, we want to have in place a system whereby any law that is in effect in Israel proper will be in effect in Yehudah and Shomron as well.”
Speaking before the Legal Forum for the Land of Israel Sunday night, Shaked said that in her capacity as Justice Minister she was “dedicating resources to ensure that the legislative process will be equal for all people. Until now this process has been slow and frustrating, and many of the most basic and necessary laws, such as those relating to the quality of the environment and labor issues have not included residents of Yehudah and Shomron. I intend to change this within a year.”
If Shaked were to be successful, Israeli and Palestinian residents of Area C – under Israeli civilian and military control – would be provided with a large number of rights that today are not available to them, since many aspects of the legal system in the region are under military law. While Israeli law prevails inside settlements, and Israeli residents of Yehudah and Shomron have to pay taxes and fulfill other legal obligations, the military has a right to upend many of those laws if there is an important security need. And the laws are generally not applied outside settlements, allowing Arabs to flaunt laws regarding building, waste removal, speeding, and other matters.
Former Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein was opposed to the move, and while current AG Yehuda Mandelblit has not weighed in on the idea yet, Shaked will propose that Israeli law be in effect for Israelis wherever they are, without connection to their place of residence. Shaked believes that her law will pass muster with the High Court, where it is almost surely to be challenged.
In response, Meretz head Zehava Gal-On said on Army Radio that Shaked’s proposal was a “runaround of international law, to provide settlers with the benefits of Israeli law. In effect, she will be institutionalizing racism,” since Israeli laws will not provide Palestinians – who are subjects of the Palestinian Authority – with any benefits, but will make their actions prosecutable by Israel.