The Knesset plenum rejected on Wednesday afternoon a bill proposed by National Union head MK Yaakov Katz (Ketzaleh) that would place Judea, Samaria and the south-central Jordan Valley under Israeli sovereignty. Likud Ministers Yuli Edelstein, Dan Meridor, Limor Livnat, Michael Eitan, Gilad Erdan and Benny Begin voted against the bill.
Ministers Uzi Landau (Israel is Our Home), Daniel Hershkovich (Jewish Home), Eli Yishai and Ariel Atias (Shas) were absent from the vote.
Most Knesset members from Likud and Shas absented themselves from the plenum during the vote. These included Likud's Ayoub Kara, Miri Regev, Danny Danon and Tzipi Hotovely, as well as Shas's Chaim Amsallem. Jewish Home's MKs Orbach and Orlev were also nowhere to be seen, and Israel is Our Home's MKs were also missing.
In a speech, read by MK Uri Ariel because MK Katz was suffering from a sore throat, Ketzaleh exhorted his fellow parliamentarians to support the measure.
"History is toying with us," he said, "and today an absurd situation exists, in which Israeli sovereignty is missing from - of all places - the land our Forefathers tread, the heart and center of the Land of Israel."
While Tel Aviv and Eilat are under Israeli sovereignty, he noted, "Shechem, Hevron and Beit El, the places where the Forefathers lived and where they received the Promise for the entire Land, those places have yet to be placed under full Israeli sovereignty."
Israeli citizens of Judea and Samaria, he explained, currently suffer discrimination. While they have to pay income tax, property taxes, etc., under Israeli law, they are denied some of the rights of Israeli citizens, such as the right to be tried in a civilian court and not a military one.
Ketzaleh's speech made mention of the recently-expired freeze order against Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria. "This terrible edict, which will be remembered forever shamefully in the annals of the Jewish people, could not have been issued if Israeli sovereignty was declared over the [Jewish] communities [in Judea and Samaria]."
The law would not contradict the territorial principle that is widely accepted in modern judicial approaches, Ketzaleh explained, because ever since the establishment of the Palestinian Authority, the Arabs of Judea and Samaria already live under a separate set of laws.