Peace Now conference to oppose equal rights for Israeli citizens in Judea and Samaria

Peace Now is hosting a conference opposing “the government’s effort to apply the standards that apply within democratic Israel to the settlements.”

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked took to Twitter Wednesday to issue a unique “thank you” to extreme-left, pro-Palestinian group Peace Now, which had just announced that it will be holding a conference next Thursday about the “dramatic changes” with regard to Judea and Samaria.

In its Facebook invitation to the conference, the radical organization, which alleges that Israel’s hold on Judea and Samaria is against international law, laments that “these changes are part of the government’s effort to apply the standards that apply within democratic Israel to the settlements,” which “constitute a change in the rules of the game with regard to Israeli control of the territories.”

The changes apparently refer to the so-called Regulation Law 2, approved Wednesday in its preliminary reading in the Knesset. Officially known as the Fabric of Life in Settlement bill, it obligates the government to complete the normalization process for as-yet-unauthorized young communities within two years and, in the meantime, to supply them with all municipal services.

The bill also forbids the Civil Administration from enforcing any administrative orders against these communities without direct instructions from the prime minister or defense minister, which also must be approved by the Cabinet.

The changes referred to by Peace Now contradict “the positions of the legal echelon and the Supreme Court in the past,” the organization claims.

Shaked appreciates unintentional compliment

“Thank you Peace Now for the pat on the back. It’s not taken for granted,” Shaked tweeted.

“When we spoke about the Fabric of Life law, I thought, what a difference there is between this government and the one headed by Likud in 2004, and what a difference there was in the winds blowing from the Justice Ministry,” Shaked tweeted. “Then, the head of Likud, Arik Sharon, asked Talia Sasson, a state prosecutor, to prepare a report on unauthorized outposts, and today the government is regulating them.”

Sasson prepared a highly critical report in 2005, listing some 150 tiny communities that were built with the aid of state bodies – despite not having all the necessary government approvals – which she called a “blatant violation of the law.” She later ran for Knesset on the extreme-left Meretz party list and is listed as one of the keynote speakers at the upcoming Peace Now conference.

The legality of these communities has been up in the air ever since the 2005 report, with right-wing attorneys arguing that the vast majority were indeed legitimately authorized. However, many of their residents have been living with the threat of demolition hanging over their heads.

The new bill, advanced by Land of Israel Knesset caucus heads Yoav Kish (Likud) and Betzalel Smotrich (Jewish Home), would remove this threat from some 2,000 homes, which, Kish noted, were “located on state land without exception” and are therefore fully deserving of normalization.