16:23 GMT +323 September 2019
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    Israeli national flag flying next to an Israeli building site of new housing units in the Jewish settlement of Shilo in the occupied Palestinian West Bank. (File)

    Israel Passes Bill That Retroactively Legalizes Jewish Settlements

    © AFP 2019 / Ahmad Gharabli
    Middle East
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    On Monday Israeli lawmakers passed a controversial bill allowing Jerusalem to expropriate privately-owned Palestinian land as property of the state. Right-wing elements in the Knesset are hailing the vote as a “historic day for the settlement movement.”

    Roughly translated as the 'Regularization Law,' the new measure does not allow Jewish settlers to own the land they live on but does allow them to stay in their homes, while Palestinian owners cannot retake or own the land, "until there is a diplomatic resolution of the status of the territories." 

    According to Haaretz, the bill was drafted ostensibly to "regulate settlement in Judea and Samaria and allow its continued establishment and development." Detractors see the legislation as justification for ongoing land theft on the West Bank.

    Dan Meridor, former minister of Likud, the party of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, wrote an op-ed in Haaretz calling the law "evil and dangerous," and pointing out that Palestinian land ownership has never been regulated by parliament because "the Arabs of Judea and Samaria did not vote for the Knesset, and it has no authority to legislate for them. These are basic principles of democracy and Israeli law."

    The bill affects sixteen settlements, and gives the justice ministry the power to add more, as they see fit.

    The bill retroactively 'legalizes' Jewish settlements built on Palestinian land, and has been condemned by the international community.

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu supports the measure.

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    Tags:
    Israeli settlements, Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Likud Party, The Jewish Home party, Knesset, Israel
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