Israeli government votes to support annexing West Bank settlements

Whether or not the proposal becomes law, the vote itself broadcasts to the world that this government opposes a negotiated two-state solution.


The Israeli government voted to endorse legislation to extend Israeli law to settlements in the West Bank on Sunday.

What does would that mean, you ask? For 47 years, the primary source of law in the West Bank has been the IDF military law code. Applying civilian law to parts —or all — of the West Bank would be tantamount to annexation, or at least be a creeping but concrete step toward that goal.

Irrespective of whether or not this latest proposal is ever passed, the vote itself broadcasts to the entire world that the majority of ministers in the Israeli government support annexing West Bank settlements — a “unilateral move” if there ever was one.

In fact, even if the current version of the bill goes no further than it already has, it will have accomplished its authors’ goal: to move Israelis ever closer to stomaching the idea of annexation.

Events like the fall of the Berlin Wall are anomalies: most change happens gradually and it is often not even noticed until it’s too late. That is how the Israeli Right feels about the international and domestic support for Palestinian statehood these days, and that is how the Israeli Right plans to subvert that same idea. Baby steps. Facts on the ground.

File photo of MK Orit Struck speaking at a Knesset committee meeting, June 11, 2013. (Photo by Oren Ziv/

The bill’s author, Knesset member Orit Struck, herself a settler in the West Bank city of Hebron, explained to settler news outlet Arutz Sheva a few weeks ago how she and MK Yariv Levin have prepared 10 draft laws that would annex the West Bank in stages: first individual settlements, then Area C, and eventually, everything West of the Jordan River.

But Israel is not ready to stomach full annexation, Struck explained, “[w]e must aim towards something that the Israeli public, with its present situation, would be able to digest.”

“As of now, it is impossible to create such a basis of support for the idea of annexing the entire area including Ramallah, Nablus and more cities,” she added. “That’s why we must continue in what has been the Zionist way, which has always been a gradual path.”

It’s not really newsworthy that someone like MK Struck is attempting to advance plans to annex the West Bank, or even that she has a plan to do it subversively. After all, she was chosen to become a Knesset member by none other than settlement champion Naftali Bennett (he even ran for office on an annexation platform).

The separation wall being built in al-Walaja, December 7, 2010. Once completed, the wall will completely surround the village. (Photo by Anne Paq/