Jpost Israel News – Politics and Diplomacy
The Knesset cannot pick and choose which parts of international law it likes and which it does not regarding the West Bank, Deputy Attorney-General for International Affairs Roy Schondorf told the joint Knesset committees handling the Settlement Bill in a classified briefing last month, which was only declassified Monday.
Schondorf noted that Israel’s position for 50 years has been that the Geneva Convention does not obligate Israel regarding the West Bank, but that it will voluntarily comply with its principles. Israel also treated the Hague Convention as inapplicable regarding the state’s conduct within the West Bank.
Accepting that Israel is in a legal state of “belligerent occupation” of the West Bank pending a final negotiation of the West Bank’s status has been the basis for Israel to erect its security barrier and to undertake a range of other security measures in the West Bank, since a belligerent occupier (a neutral term, not to be confused with political accusations of occupation) has certain security rights.
As long as Israel has used this status to claim various security rights for its actions, it has also had to abide by certain connected obligations.
Schondorf’s point was that the Settlements Bill would violate those obligations and undermine the basis for many of Israel’s security actions.
He said that all of these legal issues did not diminish Israel’s historic claims to the land, which are also reflected in the Jewish state’s vision of a final status deal with the Palestinians.
The Deputy Attorney-General also told the committee that the High Court of Justice in endorsing the Gaza withdrawal in its most expanded panel, voted 10-1 that Palestinians have special protected status under international law, but that Jewish-Israelis in the West Bank who moved there after 1967 do not .
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is seeking to coordinate the passage of the settlement regulation bill with the US as right-wing lawmakers prepare for a Knesset vote late on Monday night that would approve the legislation.
If passed, the controversial bill will retroactively legalizes close to 4,000 settler homes on private Palestinian property in Area C of the West Bank.