Ministers reject law to preserve Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem

Law was promoted by MK Bezalel Smotrich, would have enabled prosecution of PA officials who subvert Israeli sovereignty in Jewish capital.

Hezki Baruch ,

MK Bezalel Smotrich
MK Bezalel Smotrich
Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

On Sunday afternoon, the head of the Religious Zionism Party, MK Bezalel Smotrich, responded to the rejection of the Jerusalem Sovereignty Law in the Ministerial Committee for Legislation.

“The bill to preserve Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem was pushed off for four months despite the fact that the Defense establishment supports it,” Smotrich said. “Apparently, this left-wing Bennett-Abbas government doesn’t have time to strengthen Jerusalem, and Abbas and the Islamic Movement won’t allow the government to end the Palestinian Authority’s subversive activities in the Israeli capital. You should be ashamed of yourselves.”

Earlier today, Smotrich called on the chairman of the Ministerial Committee on Legislation to put petty politics aside, as he expressed it, and promote the bill, stressing its importance for “preserving our sovereignty in Jerusalem in the face of the Palestinian Authority’s constant incursions.

“In recent years, the PA has been operating in various manners to undermine Israeli rule – such as law enforcement, tax collection, harassment (including arrests, torture, and even murder) of those who sell houses or land to Jews, involvement in school curricula, etc. The PA also operates a Jerusalem Affairs Office in Jerusalem which openly defies Israeli sovereignty in the Israeli capital.

“Such activities are in violation of the Oslo Accords,” Smotrich noted, “as well as being against the law. However, when I approached law enforcement agencies with the demand that they enforce the law, I was told that due to a lacuna, criminal proceedings cannot be launched against PA officials working in Jerusalem.”

He explained that, “When these officials are arrested for violating the law, the court immediately releases them because criminal proceedings cannot be conducted against them in the absence of a prescribed penalty. To amend this situation, I submitted a bill that does not change anything in the essence of the law but simply adds punishments of five or ten years’ imprisonment (depending on whether the activity included violence). This amendment will enable the police to arrest and prosecute PA members who operate in Jerusalem and elsewhere in Israel in violation of the law.”