Israel’s critics often describe the country as being above the law, but until now this has never been brazenly declared by its government. Documents published this week shows a legal representative of the Israeli government audaciously claiming that Israel can “legislate anywhere in the world,” that it is “entitled to violate the sovereignty of foreign countries,” and that it “is allowed to ignore the directives of international law in any field it desires”.
The bold declaration was made in legal materials recently submitted to the Israeli Supreme Court in which the government representative said that the Knesset is allowed to ignore international law anywhere it desires.
These remarks were made last month in a written response the government filed to the Israeli Supreme Court relating to the petition against the Settlement Regularisation Law filed by Palestinian legal groups, Adalah, The Legal Centre for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Centre (JLAC), and Al Mezan Center for Human Rights (Gaza). Their petition was made on behalf of 17 local Palestinian authorities in the West Bank.
The Palestinian plaintiffs challenged an Israeli law passed last year which aimed to retroactively legalise thousands of settler homes and structures built on Palestinian private land, to avert the possibility that the Israeli Supreme Court might one day sanction their removal. Before the law was passed, even Israeli law considered such structures illegal, not to mention that all settlements are a flagrant violation of international law.