Photo Credit: Knesset Channel YouTube screenshot
MK David Bitan (Likud)

The Knesset plenum is expected to approve some time on Monday the final version of the ‘Normalization Law’ a.k.a. the ‘Regulation Law,’ setting up new ground rules in cases where Arab claimants successfully sue Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria for plots within their boundaries. Currently, many such cases have concluded over the years with the Supreme Court embracing whatever sketchy evidence the claimants provided, and ruling to demolish and vacate said communities. In the case of Amona, which should come to its sad conclusion next week, the Arab-claimed land constitutes a puny portion of the overall area, but since it cuts in a bizarre fashion through the community, the only remedy the court could dream up was destruction and expulsion.

The new law will compel Arab claimants to accept roughly 125% of market value on their land, or comparable land elsewhere, as compensation – in cases where the Jewish community had been established with the government’s blessing. This should bring up the status of Jews living in Judea and Samaria to that of Jews living in Tel Aviv, where market value for claimed property is the common legal remedy.


On Sunday, Prime Minister Netanyahu proudly announced his support for the new law, written and submitted mostly by his coalition partner Habayit Hayehudi. But on Monday, Netanyahu’s henchman, Coalition Chairman MK David Bitan, was seen trying to reach a deal with the opposition parties to postpone the vote by at east one week.

One thing is known for certain, and has been repeated sadly by the law’s authors: despite the fact that the law had been conceived as a means of saving Amona, a hilltop community in Samaria that saw one of the most violent cases of en masse police brutality during its earlier evacuation in 2006, the new law will not spare it. That’s specifically due to the objection of Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon who is concerned about his status as a centrist. He fears that a confrontation with the court by retroactively applying the new law to an already ruled case, could paint him as a rightwing extremist, to the benefit of his rival, Yesh Atid’s MK Yair lapid.

The opposition parties have already filed hundreds of amendments to the new law, officially known as “The Law Regulating the Settlement in Judea and Samaria.” Opposition amendments included new titles, such as “The Law of Surrender to Habayit Hayehudi,” and “The Law to Bury the Two-State Solution.” Also ran: “The Law to Regulate International Suits Against Israel at the Hague.”

As this report is being filed, the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice, and Foreign Affairs joint Committee is still deliberating the final language of the bill which is slated for submission to the plenum today.


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