MK Mansour Abbas
MK Mansour AbbasAvshalom Sassoni/Flash90

Ra'am (United Arab List) party chairman MK Mansour Abbas revealed for the first time in closed talks why his party refuses to vote in favor of the law to extend emergency regulations in Judea and Samaria this week.

According to a report on Kan Bet, Abbas cited the proximity in time to recent confrontations on the Temple Mount as well as the Jerusalem Day events and the Flag Dance that took place this week.

"It is not possible to vote in favor of this law so soon after these recent events," Abbas said. "We must separate these issues in the minds of our voters. Next week is a new week and we will consider voting on the law in a different atmosphere," he added.

The law concerned is one that is renewed every five years and is due to expire at the end of June. It applies criminal law as well as certain key civil laws (such as those relating to income tax and health insurance) to areas beyond the "Green Line," and if it is permitted to lapse, the consequences could be grave - with, for example, Israel Police losing the authority to arrest Israelis who commit crimes and then flee to Judea and Samaria. Israelis living in these areas would also lose their rights to health insurance.

As things stand, the coalition does not have the 60 votes it needs to extend the law. Justice Minister Gideon Saar, who is pushing for the law to be passed, commented that, "No one has a clue what chaos would ensue if this law expires."

He added that, "Coalition members who vote against this law are basically saying, ‘I don’t want this government to exist’."

Deputy Attorney General Avital Sompolinsky has noted in an opinion that, "The expiration of the regulations will have dramatic consequences in many areas, and a situation of lack of legal regulation of state authorities' powers over Judea and Samaria will have far-reaching consequences for the Israeli legal system in Israel."

She added that it was for good reason that the government saw fit to install these emergency regulations as early as 1967, before the first settlements were even established.

Sompolinsky then went into greater detail regarding the possible implications: "What we have now is synchronization between the criminal enforcement system in Israel and the system that operates in Judea and Samaria. The police act as a single police force and so does the prison system. If the regulations expire, we will require formal legal procedures (which are not currently regulated) similar to those we have with foreign countries. For example, it will not be possible to transfer information (evidence, testimonies) collected by the police and security forces as part of criminal investigations between Judea and Samaria to Israel and vice versa. In fact, the Judea and Samaria police and the Israel Police will be formally and legally separated."

In her opinion, there are also security implications for failing to extend the law. "From a security point of view, we emphasize that the expiration of the regulations means that there will be no authority to hold a prisoner in a military court in Israel. According to the information provided to us, over 3,500 security prisoners living in Judea and Samaria are being held in Israeli prisons. As a result, a solution will have to be found for the incarceration of all those security prisoners imprisoned in Israeli prisons, which can be expected to have serious security consequences and dramatic logistical effects."

The Deputy Attorney General gave another example of what could happen in the absence of the regulations: "Judea and Samaria would become de facto 'cities of refuge' for those who commit certain offenses."

"On a practical-logistical level, preparing for this situation will require intensive training by the military prosecutor's office in Judea and Samaria," she added. "The expiration of the regulations would make the management of Israeli life in Judea and Samaria close to impossible."