BICOM’s research team has prepared a briefing on the controversial Regulation Law, which was approved by the Knesset last night (Monday 6 February), giving context for the new law and explaining its impact upon Israel and the West Bank.
- On Monday, 6 February the Israeli Knesset passed the third and final reading of Hok Hahasdara, the Regulation Law, by 60 votes to 52. The Regulation Law retroactively gives residents of up to 4,000 housing units in West Bank settlements the right to live in their homes which were built – some accidentally – on private Palestinian land, in return providing the landowner with an annual usage payment of 125 per cent of the land’s rental value. The Law sits alongside other potential legislation being promoted in right-wing circles which includes plans to declare sovereignty in parts of Area C of the West Bank, beginning with the large settlement of Maale Adumim.
- Shifts in both domestic and international politics affected the Israeli political calculus and created the framework for this piece of legislation to pass. The Law comes in the context of the evacuation of the Amona outpost and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Jewish Home leader Naftali Bennett’s attempts at assuaging objections of their own constituents. The incoming American administration – far less critical, if not supportive, of the settlement project than its predecessor – led the Israeli government to believe that the tide had turned and assessed that a Trump Presidency would not object to these moves. Former American ambassador to Israel, Dan Shapiro, wrote that it is “difficult to imagine this vote would have occurred so soon before PM Netanyahu’s visit to DC without a clear OK sign from Trump Administration”.
- The Regulation Law faces its strongest challenge in the Israeli Supreme Court and is highly unlikely to survive. Israel’s Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit has been one of the most vocal critics of the Law, declaring it unconstitutional and refusing to defend it in the Supreme Court. Critics of the Law, including Mandelblit and former Foreign and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, have warned of potential lawsuits that Israelis may face at the International Criminal Court (ICC)
The full briefing is available as a PDF below.