ACRI position on applying Knesset legislation on Israeli settlers in the territories

Palestenian Village & a SettlementBy: ChameleonsEye/

ACRI sent a position paper on 2.1.2018 to the Knesset Committee, ahead of a discussion on the applicability of Israeli Knesset legislation on Israeli citizens living in the Occupied Territories. In this position paper, ACRI stresses that the system of laws that Israel chooses to apply in the Territories and the manner in which the laws of the State of Israel are applied there bear enormous implications for the human rights of millions of men and women. Therefore, the issue of human rights should be at the heart of the Committee’s deliberations in this context, and in all the discussions concerning the territories and the law that applies in the area.


The director of ACRI’s Human Rights in the Occupied Territories Unit, Ronit Sela, stated in the paper that in the past 50 years Israel’s position was that the residents of the settlements live outside the sovereign territory of the State of Israel and in an area under a military regime. Therefore, it is impossible to base a Knesset legislation on an alternative position that has not yet been adopted, and purports to confer to the Knesset sovereign powers in an area that is not officially under its sovereignty.


ACRI also wrote that there is indeed a gap between the law applicable to Israeli citizens living in Israel and those living in the Occupied Territories, a situation that in itself creates difficulties. However, the truly large legislative gaps were deliberately created between the law applicable to settlers and that which applies to Palestinians – two populations living in the same territory under the control of the same military commander, but are subject to two separate legal systems. The Israeli military regime gives a clear and sweeping preference for the rights of the settlers, whether in criminal law, freedom of expression and demonstration, in the laws of planning and building, in the exercise of the right to shelter and to family, etc.


According to Sela, “the term ‘equality of rights’ used in the proposal, veils itself in values of democracy, rights and equality. However, it is misleading, as the Knesset members have not been presented with the choice between strengthening or weakening democracy and equality. Rather, MKs are asked to choose between the following two alternatives: The realization of real and substantive democracy within sovereign Israel, with a real and substantive realization of humanitarian law in the occupied territory under temporary military control; or the negation of the democratic regime in Israel, as well as the legitimacy of the military regime in the territories”.


For the English translation of the letter, click here

For the letter in Hebrew, click here


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Categories: Democracy and Civil Liberties, The Occupied Territories

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