An Israeli government committee is to meet today to discuss putting the settlements built in the West Bank under Israeli law. Settlements in the West Bank are currently subject to military rule and jurisdiction.
While not actually formally annexing the settlements to Israel, the move is generally seen as a step closer to annexation. Once settlements are under Israeli law, any future settlements will automatically fall under the effective jurisdiction of Israel. It would then be only a matter of time, once there are enough settlements, for Israel to then formally annex entire swathes of the West Bank to Israel.
While the West Bank settlements remain under military jurisdiction they nonetheless are still on what is legally West Bank lands. Bringing the settlements under the umbrella of Israeli law, however, could well change both the settlements legal status under at least Israeli law and will also offer opportunities for expansion of the settlements areas since the actual borders that will define what exactly does come under Israeli law jurisdiction – as against military – could extend well beyond the actual settlements.
Of course, all this is pure supposition at the moment since it is still being discussed by the Israeli government but, all the same, one should be aware of the potential implications of these discussions.