Haaretz has reported that the Israeli Knesset passed a law on Monday imposing “A penalty of three years’ imprisonment … on Israeli vehicle-owners who take their vehicles to mechanics in the West Bank … The new law, presented by Likud MK Moshe Kahlon, prohibits Israeli-registered vehicles from being repaired by mechanics in territories under Palestinian Authority control, including those that are towed there by another vehicle. The law will empower police officers to confiscate any vehicle in violation of it, as well as the vehicle license from its owner, and the vehicle that towed it to the Palestinian territories. Police statistics show that around 50 Israeli vehicles are dismantled by mechanics in Palestinian territories each day after accidents, and their parts are then transferred to Israeli mechanics or used-car dealerships. The police will advise vehicle-owners of the new law through an advertising campaign as well as by placing signs at checkpoints at the entry points to the territories [this is something new — will the signs be in Hebrew only?] The law will initially be implemented for two years and Defense Minister Ehud Barak is currently discussing its extension for another two with the Transport Ministry and the Knesset Economic Affairs Committee”. This story can be read in full on Haaretz’s website here .
YNet explained a bit more on its website: “MK Gilad Erdan (Likud), chairman of the Economics Committee, who presented the proposal at the Knesset plenum, said that ‘the bill is aimed at preventing the transfer of vehicles from Israel into the Palestinian territories. Data presented to the Economics Committee by police representatives revealed that spare parts of vehicles used for repair in the PA’s garages usually come from cars stolen in Israel. Moreover, the data also reveal that a significant part of the vehicles repaired in the PA territories were found to be severely flawed and had to be taken off the roads. In other words, the “repaired” cars in fact constituted an immediate safety risk for their users’. According to Erdan, the new law would hurt the incentive to steal cars in Israel and would also break off any possible linkage between the chop shops and terror elements. MK Kahlon said following the vote, ‘This law will significantly reduce the car thefts in Israel. A large part of the vehicles stolen in Israel are dismantled in the territories, and their parts are installed in vehicles repaired in the PA’s garages’.” This YNet article can be read in full here .
It has already been an offense for several years for someone in Israel to transport someone with a West Bank ID. The penalty is “severe”, as they say in Israel (“harsh” and “severe” are two very serious words here…) The car will be confiscated, the driver will have to pay at least a 5,000 NIS (New Israel Shekel) fine, and could also be sentenced to jail. It has affected cab drivers, including cab drivers with an East Jerusalem ID who unwittingly were driving with their wives, who had West Bank IDs. This law means that you cannot drive anyone in your car, a friend or anyone, without checking and clarifying exactly what kind of ID he or she has.