Israel Justice Minister: Judea-Samaria Bill Expected to Pass Monday

Alicia WestFeb 07, 2017

"I am concerned by the scheduled vote on the so-called "Regularisation Bill" as it would enable the continued use of privately-owned Palestinian land for Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank".

Palestinians called it an illegal land-grab aimed at facilitating Israel's annexation of the West Bank.

Pro-settlement groups, including parts of Israel's right-wing government, had sought to save it from demolition.

Knesset lawmakers voted 60-52 in favor of the measure late Monday to legalize some 4,000 settler homes.

Adalah, an Israeli group that protects Arab rights, said it would immediately file a challenge in the Supreme Court if the bill is approved.

The White House said last month that Trump emphasized "the deep and abiding" partnership between the two countries and that he "affirmed his unprecedented commitment to Israel's security".

Israeli legislators in the opposition condemned the bill as reckless and warned that it would turn the world against Israel, while goading prosecutors at the International Criminal Court in The Hague to take action against the Jewish state.

However, doubts were lifted when the premier told reporters accompanying him to London on Monday that the vote would go ahead after he had "updated" President Donald Trump's administration, a spokesman for Netanyahu told the AFP news agency.

The lengthy Amona saga - including the evictions broadcast live on Israeli television - directly inspired the bill.

Much of the worldwide community, including the United Nations and the European Union, consider the settlements to be an illegal taking of land envisioned as a future homeland for Palestinians.

Emboldened by the Trump administration, the Israeli government is expanding settlement construction at an alarming new rate.

"President Donald Trump hasn't been as strong on condementaion of settlements as previous USA administrations", our correspondent said.

Since Trump's inauguration, Israel has announced more than 6,000 new homes in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, seen as key parts of any future Palestinian state.

However following a ruling by the Supreme Court, Israeli police last week dragged out the few hundred residents, as well as more than 1,000 hardcore supporters. Although the original mandate of Palestine had included land that now belongs to the Hashemite kingdom of Jordan, the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine only applied to territory west of the Jordan River, but did include Judea, Samaria and Gaza. "I said that I will act according to our national interest".

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