52 Years of Occupation in The West Bank: A sequence of laws and decisions endorses the link between settlements and sovereign Israel, deepening violations of Palestinian rights.
In recent years, and even more so during the period of the outgoing Knesset, the government has worked to endorse the deepening Israeli hold on the West Bank and the removal of occupation from Israeli public consciousness. These activities are carried out via legislative initiatives and amendments aimed at promoting “legal annexation” of the West Bank. The legislation is not promoted in order to actually apply Israeli sovereignty to the West Bank territories, but rather to institutionalize a discriminatory rule of annexation and occupation.
Among the laws enacted so far to institutionalize discriminatory rule of annexation and occupation are: the Illegal Outpost Regulation Law, the transfer of all Palestinian’s petitions from the High Court of Justice to the Jerusalem District Court, application of the Higher Education Law to academic institutions in the settlements, and the amendment of the Prohibition of Discrimination in Products Law.
The legislation was intended to expand construction in unauthorized settlements and outposts, and to strengthen the link between settlements and the sovereign State of Israel. However, the legislation is not intended to promote Israeli sovereignty in all of the territories, since the government has neither intention of granting status or voting rights to millions of Palestinians, nor to providing equal education, health and welfare services or freedom of movement throughout the “one state” between the Jordan River and the sea. Military occupation rule will continue to be applied to the Palestinian population and conduct its way of life, as if nothing has changed.
In addition to the fact that these laws are intended only to benefit the settlers and harm the rights of the Palestinian residents, they also undermine fundamental principles of the laws of belligerent occupation, which Israel is obligated to follow, and which are intended to guarantee the rights of Palestinians in the Occupied Territories.
These legislative attempts are part of a long and worrying sequence of disregard for the laws of occupation. This disregard allowed the establishment of settlements, which led to the systematic and prolonged violation of the rights of Palestinians in the West Bank and the creation of two separate systems of law, creating a prohibited regime of discrimination by nationality. 52 years after the occupation of the West Bank, the Israeli government is working to institutionalize the illegal situation it created in the occupied territories.