Weekly Commentary: Fatal Error For Concerns Over Arabs Gaining Citizenship
To Drive Annexation Path
Dr. Aaron Lerner 13 September, 2019
There are only two reasons for a policy maker to opt for annexation via
legislation rather than a snap vote of the cabinet:
#1. The policy maker, like most Israelis including ministers, MKs,
reporters, etc. doesn't know that a snap vote of the cabinet is all that is
required to annex.
#2. A desire to avoid granting Israeli citizenship to Arabs in the territory
This is the law which one could expect to apply "in spirit" to Arabs located
in a territory annexed via a cabinet vote:
NATIONALITY LAW, 5712-1952
Citizenship by virtue of residing in Israel
3. (a) Anyone who on the eve of the establishment of the State was a Land of
Israel citizen, and who was not an Israeli citizen under Article 2, shall be
an Israeli citizen from the date of establishment of the State if the
following conditions are met:
(1) was registered as a resident under the Resident Registry Ordinance, 1949
on Wednesday, March 1, 1952;
(2) On the date of commencement of this Act, was a resident of Israel;
(3) From the date of establishment of the State until the day on which this
Law came into force, was in Israel or in a territory which became Israeli
territory after the establishment of the State, or who entered Israel
lawfully in that period.
Along with this agreement:
THE ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN INTERIM AGREEMENT ON THE WEST BANK AND THE GAZA
STRIP 28 Sep 1995
Protocol Concerning Civil Affairs
Population Registry and Documentation
1. Powers and responsibilities in the sphere of population registry and
documentation in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip will be transferred from
the military government and its Civil Administration to the Palestinian
So let's connect the dots.
When we annex an area, the Palestinian Authority, as the power responsible
for the population registry until that moment, can retroactively record
every Arab who happens to be in the annexed territory at the moment of
as a resident of that territory.
That would apply, for example, to the Bedouin that the courts have
repeatedly ruled are illegal squatters.
The idea is that legislation annexing territory could exclude these Arabs.
Itís a huge mistake for many reasons.
#1. The odds are excellent that such an exclusionary provision would cause
the Supreme Court to void the law - and that's besides the fact that it
would serve as a lightening rod for worldwide condemnation of the move.
#2. The time consuming legislative process would afford the world more than
enough time to rally against the move, with Israel ultimately backing down
under the tremendous pressure.
And last but not least:
#3. The legislative process opens a "window of opportunity" for Arabs to
flood into the territory about to be annexed so as to benefit from Israeli
A simple message for legislation advocates: Its time to grow up.
Yes, annexation by a snap cabinet vote will mean that some Arabs will gain
Israeli citizenship, but the numbers are insignificant by any estimation.
And please take note: citizenship does not in any way grant any property
rights to squatters.
Annexation is too important to effectively postpone it indefinitely by
insisting on the legislative route.
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