A new report maps out the two separate legal systems in the occupied territories — one for Jews and one for Arabs. At a launch event for the report, senior jurists showed up and argued it’s not their fault whatsoever. Former Supreme Court Justice Dalia Dorner asked: What can we do? The answer: A lot.
(Translated from Hebrew by Ofer Neiman)
There was something mesmerizing about listening to representatives of the legal establishment speak at a conference held by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) last week. Mesmerizing and terrifying. The hardest thing was hearing Dalia Dorner — one of the most important judges in Israel, a recent candidate for the Israeli presidency, the president of the Israeli Press Council and an icon of sorts among the liberal camp — explaining that the Israeli Supreme Court actually has no influence on the reality of the occupation. In fact, she simply shirked all responsibility for the decisive role played by the judicial system in the establishment and consolidation of the military regime in the occupied territories.
But let’s start from the beginning. The conference, which took place last week at Tel Aviv University’s law school, was dedicated to ACRI’s new report, “One Rule, Two Legal Systems: Israel’s Regime of Laws in the West Bank.” The report systematically maps out what has become one of the main factors behind the reality in the occupied territories: the application of legislation on a national-ethnic basis. Jews reside in the West Bank as Israeli citizens, and Israeli civil law applies to them by virtue of a military order. Palestinians, on the other hand, are subjected to a full military regime, tried by military courts for any offense and denied the right to vote in the institutions that shape their lives.
The report provides a detailed account of this structural discrimination, which has become a pillar of the political and legal reality in Israel. The report also explains the significance of said discrimination on the lives of the Palestinian residents of the occupied territories — from the penal code, through planning and construction permits, down to traffic laws. Did you know, for example, that a police officer is authorized to rescind a Palestinian driver’s license or confiscate his or her vehicle upon issuing a traffic citation if they discover he or she has not paid...Read More