Arab MK Wants ‘Settler-Free’ Supreme Court

November 23, 2011  

MK Ahmad Tibi (Ram-Ta’al) – a former political adviser to late PLO arch-terrorist Yasser Arafat – proposed an amendment to Israel’s Basic Laws on Wednesday that would proscribe Israeli residents in Judea and Samaria from serving on the Supreme Court.

The bill reads candidates “will not be appointed as Supreme Court justice if he does not reside within the State of Israel, or he lives in violation of international or national law.”

“Recently, there were attempts to promote the candidacy of certain judges by politicians from the right with some of these judges live outside the sovereign state of Israel, as recognized by international law – including the settlements in the occupied territories after 1967 constitute a violation of international and national law,” Tibi wrote in explanatory notes for his proposal.

He added, “The servant of jurisdiction must send a message of respect for national law and international law. Settlements are living in blatant violation and defiance of international and national law and whoever does so is unfit to serve.”

Contrary to Tibi’s assertions the pre-1967 armistice lines are not “internationally recognized borders.” Israel won Judea and Samaria from Hashemite Jordan in the 1967 Six Day War, but it was never sovereign territory.

Rather, Judea and Samaria were a part of British Mandate Palestine designated to become a part of a future Jewish state that Jordan seized during Israel’s War of Independence in 1948. As such, Israel maintains Judea and Samaria are properly designated ‘disputed territories’ under international law.

Building communities in ‘disputed territories,’ while politically controversial, is not a violation of international law.

Nor, as Tibi bizarrely asserts, are Israeli citizens living in Judea and Samaria violating national laws. Indeed, Israel’s government has recognized numerous communities in Judea and Samaria as municipalities where it provides essential services.

Additionally, Israel’s Supreme Court frequently rules on matters in Judea and Samaria demonstratively showing it regards Israeli jurisdiction as extending to those regions – even if formal sovereignty has not been declared.

Critics say Tibi’s proposed amendment is a clear anti-democratic attempt to disenfranchise a significant segment of the Israeli public he is in political conflict with.

Knesset observers say his proposal is unlikely to find support among the ruling coalition or government ministers – effectively dooming it to failure from the outset. Instead, they say, Tibi’s move is most likely a hollow propaganda stunt.

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