The Israeli government has declared that “the Knesset [is permitted] to legislate laws everywhere in the world” and that it is authorized “to violate the sovereignty of foreign countries via legislation that would be applied to events occurring in their territories,” in legal materials it recently submitted to the Israeli Supreme Court.
These statements were made on 7 August 2018 in a written response the government had filed to the Israeli Supreme Court relating to the petition against the Settlement Regularization Law filed by Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Center (JLAC), and Al Mezan Center for Human Rights (Gaza) on behalf of 17 local Palestinian authorities in the West Bank.
Adalah and fellow petitioners argued that the Knesset is not permitted to enact and impose laws on territory occupied by the State of Israel. Thus, the Knesset cannot enact laws that annex the West Bank or that violate the rights of Palestinian residents of the West Bank.
Attorney Arnon Harel, a private lawyer representing the Israeli government, also wrote in the new materials submitted to the Supreme Court that “the Knesset [is permitted] to impose the powers of the military commander of the [West Bank] region as it sees fit”; “the Knesset [is permitted] to define the authorities of the military commander as it sees fit”; “[the authority] of the Government of Israel to annex any territory or to enter into international conventions derives from its authority as determined by the Knesset”; and that [the Knesset] is allowed to ignore the directives of international law in any field it desires.”
Adalah Attorneys Suhad Bishara and Myssana Morany, who filed the petition against the Settlement Regularization Law, said in response: “The Israeli government’s extremist response has no parallel anywhere in the world. It stands in gross violation of international law and of the United Nations Charter which obligates member states to refrain from threatening or using force against the territorial integrity of other states – including occupied territories. The Israeli government’s extremist position is, in fact, a declaration of its intention to proceed with its annexation of the West Bank.”