A joint committee of Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice and Foreign Affairs and Defense Committees met Wednesday to discuss the legality of a proposed bill to normalize Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria which were built on privately owned land.
The 'Regulation Law,'(aka Normalization Law) which right-wing MKs hope to pass in time to save the town of Amona from destruction by December 25, passed its first reading last week. The bill stipulates that the state can compensate landowners if towns were found to be built on their property instead of demolishing entire towns and evicting their residents.
Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit has stated that he does not intend to defend the law to the High Court.
Committee chairman Nissan Slomiansky (Jewish Home) said: "I do not remember a similar case where an Attorney General issued an opinion which was automatically forced on all other offices of the state.
"On the other hand," he continued, "it is a dilemma that the government's decision has not received an opinion. We continue to demand that they come and represent us [to the courts]."
Noam Frank, a 17 year old resident of Amona, said at the meeting: "I am here today [to speak] for the children in the kindergartens and dorms who want to stay in their homes and not be expelled. We were taught that promises must be fulfilled."
"The Prime Minister promised us four years ago that there would be no more expulsions. [We want him to] keep that promise and let us stay in our homes. We were taught that the law is proper and true. The right thing to do would be to let us keep our community, and the wrong and most vile thing to do would be to destroy it. So you have to pass a law and leave us our homes."
Knesset Legal Adviser Eyal Yinon asked the committee to consider the effects the passage of the bill would have on Israel's legal standing in the international arena, especially at the International Criminal Court (ICC).
“The International Criminal Court opened an investigation of the situation in the West Bank,” Yinon said. “MKs need to decide if this bill improves or worsens Israel’s situation."
He warned that the passage of the law "could undermine the legal status of all settlements.”
Professor Eugene Kontorovich, an expert in international law and professor at the Northwestern University School of Law, addressed Yinon's concerns by saying that the laws of occupation do not apply in Judea and Samaria. Even if the ICC does not agree, he continued, there are grounds for the confiscation of land by the occupying power for the "public good," which the ICC would have to consider.
MK Tzipi Livni expressed concern that the legalization of Jewish communities built on private land could pave the way for Israel becoming a binational state.
"The Palestinians will demand the right to vote in the Knesset and will go en masse to the voting booth – that is the real danger" she said.