The Finance Committee has approved on Monday the bill to amend the Law for the Encouragement of Capital Investment according to which entrepreneurs, businesses and factories in Judea and Samaria will also benefit from tax breaks offered under the law. As part of the bill promoted by the Tax Authority, it is explained that Israeli citizens who operate in the Judea and Samaria region abide by the Income Tax Ordinance, just as Israeli citizens who operate inside the Green Line do, but they do not receive benefits offered under the Law for the Encouragement of Capital Investment.
MKs from the opposition expressed their objection to the bill. MK Zehava Galon (Meretz) said during the first discussion on the proposal last week that she objects to it ”because, like other bills which benefit Israeli citizens in Judea and Samaria, it constitutes a gradual annexation of the occupied territories.” Now, she argued, ”the industrial areas within the territories will have the same status as industrial zones within the Green Line. This gives a kosher certificate to the annexation of Judea and Samaria”. Galon said she objects to the bill also ”because the extent of governmental expenditure on occupied territories is much greater than it is within the Green Line. The same occurs with construction, education, welfare and so on. The budget designated by Ministry of Education for children beyond the Green Line is twice as high as the budget allocated for children within the Green Line. This is a theft of public capital and, as I said before, a gradual annexation of the territories. These bills give legitimacy to hold on to the territories”.
(MK Zehava Galon)
MK Mickey Levy (Yesh Atid) announced: ”I do not object to the notion of allowing all Israeli citizens the benefits of the Law for the Encouragement of Capital Investment. I even support it, only that those who reside in the territories should move their factories to within the Green Line borders and there will be no problem permitting them benefits. What are we actually doing – the government will hand them money and they will produce products which will then be boycotted in Europe, so what have we achieved? One hand does not know what the other is doing. This government is one of the most right-wing that has ever been in Israel. I object to this law, but if it has already passed then they should annex Judea and Samaria to the State of Israel and there will be no legal problem”.
MK Bezalel Smotrich (HaBayit HaYehudi), who supports the bill, said that ”in practice, Judea and Samaria are annexed to the State of Israel, because when I pay income tax, it is because the state obligates me to do so. If so, I should also receive the benefits. We pay the same taxes that all Israeli citizens pay and the Law for the Encouragement of Capital Investment should apply to us as well. The bill is merely meant to make the rights equal, to amend an historical injustice. We enlist in the army, perform reserve duty, pay taxes and therefore we also have rights”.
Edna Harel of the Ministry of Justice noted that: ”this arrangement does not propose to apply the Laws for the Encouragement of Capital Investment on the Judea and Samaria area; it only provides authorities for the government to use. The matter is merely tax breaks. The bill allows the state to view the grants as a way to compare the situation of Israeli citizens residing on opposite sides of the Green Line. This is not an annexation and not an individual distinction of Israeli citizens who reside in that area”.