(Photo Credit: AP)
On 10 January, the Israeli Knesset ratified the extension of emergency laws for the occupied West Bank, according to WAFA news. These emergency laws are renewed every five years, with its last renewal extension in 2017.
The law grants Israeli settlers residing in the occupied West Bank the same rights as they would otherwise have in Israel while excluding Palestinians living in the same area.
The law passed the parliament’s first reading with a 58-13 majority vote and will now be referred to the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee for a second and third reading.
While the extension of the law faced opposition during last year’s debates, it has no issue passing under the newly elected administration of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
A few days prior, Israel’s justice minister announced plans to implement legal reforms that would limit the authority and jurisdiction of the national supreme court in a bid to grant Netanyahu’s government complete jurisdiction over Tel Aviv.
Opposition members of the Knesset (MK), such as the former Israeli prime minister Yair Lapid, questioned the validity of such reforms, warning that the new government threatens democracy in Israel.
Towards the end of last month, over 1,000 Israeli air force officials sent letters to the Israeli supreme court, urging that it halts the formation of Netanyahu’s coalition government, claiming that the new government would destroy “Israeli democracy.”
Last month, the Israeli Knesset issued a controversial law to grant far-right leader Itamar Ben Gvir sweeping powers over the Police, part of a coalition deal that will allow Netanyahu to return to office.
The first of the new government’s policy objectives, announced by Netanyahu’s Likud party, states that the country will “advance and promote settlement in all regions of the territory of Israel – in the Galilee, Negev, Golan Heights, and Judea and Samaria.”
The Likud party statement also refers to calls by his far-right partners to give the security forces greater leeway in using force in the West Bank.