Coalition Chairman Yariv Levin (Likud) has proposed a new draft bill of the Basic Law which could legitimize settlement in Judea and Samaria, as well as downgrade the status of Arabic as an official language. Israel does not have a constitution, but its Basic Law serves as a foundation for a future constitution.
The proposed bill states: “the Land of Israel is the historic homeland of the Jewish people, and the birthplace of the State of Israel.” This has potential ramifications for the status of Judea and Samaria, particularly in court cases brought within Israel.
Jewish settlement in Judea and Samaria has caused international controversy, as the Palestinians see the area as the basis of a future independent state. Israel has never legally annexed the region since its capture in 1967 during the Six-Day War. The Israeli government-ordered Levy Commission, however, recently determined that due to its unique circumstances, international laws occupation do not apply.
“According to international law, Israelis have a legal right to settle all of Judea and Samaria, at the very least the lands that Israel controls under agreements with the Palestinian Authority,” Levy stated. “Therefore, the establishment of Jewish settlements [in Judea and Samaria] is, in itself, not illegal.”
In response to the proposal, Opposition MK Avishai Braverman (Labor) expressed disapproval: “When David Ben-Gurion founded this country it was on the basis of two principles: Israel was to be a Jewish and a democratic state. Now they are trying to annex Judea and Samaria and erode the democratic state.”
Levin, for his part, told Army Radio on Sunday that, “It is not like there is currently a balance between a Jewish state and a democratic state and we are coming along and disrupting it. This balance has been grossly trampled on and we are here to remedy this situation.”