Israel legalises settler outposts on Palestinian land

Israel legalises settler outposts on Palestinian land”

Knesset member Shuli Muallem-Refaeli of the pro-settler Jewish Home party said Monday that the bill was "dedicated to the courageous people of Amona who were forced to go through what no Jewish family will have to again", The Times of Israel reported.

Israel passed a law on Monday retroactively legalizing about 4,000 settler homes built on privately owned Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank.

The Jewish Home party said in a statement issued on Sunday that "half a million residents of Samaria, Judea, and the Jordan Valley deserve normal lives".

The vote on the bill, which paves the way for legalizing illegal construction on Palestinian land throughout the West Bank was postponed about a month and a half ago.

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The settlement legalization measure was pushed forward by Naftali Bennett, the education minister and leader of the Jewish Home party, who opposes granting the Palestinians a state and instead wants to annex to Israel the 60 percent of the West Bank where the Jewish settlements are located.

The private Palestinian land would be seized by the government and held until there is a final resolution of decades-long Israel-Palestinian conflict.

Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit has said some of the bill's provisions are illegal and he can't defend them against court challenges.

Dan Meridor, a former justice minister and Likud member, said the bill is problematic because it would affect Palestinians living on occupied territory that is not part of Israel and who do not have the right to vote.

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Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu later announced a new settlement would be established in place of Amona.

"This law forces the Palestinian to rethink their relations with Israel, but first and foremost, it requires the world to work against Israel's destructiveness and that of Netanyahu's government that ignores the entire world and global law", Zomlot added, saying that "it seems like the Palestinians have lost now, in the short term, but in the long term we well all lose because of this policy". The White House did not respond to requests for comment.

Trump has signaled a far more sympathetic approach to the settlements, raising hopes in Netanyahu's government that it will be able to step up construction. "He can simply turn around and say, "I tried my hardest". And as I run the country I think only about our overall national interest and act accordingly.

Netanyahu did not participate in the vote since he was returning from a trip to London.

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