- Title: Bill to legalise settler-outposts advances in Israeli legislature
- Date: 16th November 2016
- Summary: AMONA, WEST BANK (NOVEMBER 16, 2016) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF AMONA SETTLEMENT IN THE WEST BANK AMONA RESIDENT, ELAD ZIV, WALKING TO HIS HOUSE (SOUNDBITE) (English) AMONA RESIDENT, ELAD ZIV SAYING: "We expect a right wing government to implement a right wing solution, and this is the right solution, this is the just solution to let us stay and live here and to compensate any Arab who has a claim, real claim over the land who can prove it." VARIOUS OF CHILDREN PLAYING IN AMONA SETTLEMENT RAMALLAH, WEST BANK (NOVEMBER 14, 2016) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF HANAN ASHRAWI, A SENIOR MEMBER OF THE PALESTINE LIBERATION ORGANISATION, AT HER OFFICE PALESTINIAN FLAG IN OFFICE (SOUNDBITE) (English) SENIOR MEMBER OF THE PALESTINE LIBERATION ORGANISATION, HANAN ASHRAWI, SAYING: "We consider all settlements illegal weather they are on public land or private land, but now it extends the confiscation of territory to private Palestinian land where Settlers and the illegal Israeli occupation can steal --outright theft - Palestinian land, whether for public Palestinian use or private Palestinian property, in order to expand its settlement project, destroy the two-state solution and at the same time impose greater Israel on historical Palestine." JERUSALEM (NOVEMBER 14, 2016) (REUTERS) NAFTALI BENNETT, LEADER OF THE RELIGIOUS-NATIONALIST JEWISH HOME PARTY, TALKING DURING A BRIEFING TO JOURNALISTS SOUNDBITE (English) NAFTALI BENNETT, LEADER OF THE RELIGIOUS-NATIONALIST JEWISH HOME PARTY, SAYING: "This bill is a bill of normalisation to finally tell them (the settlers) you are no longer second class citizens." PHOTOGRAPHER TAKING PICTURE DURING BRIEFING
- Embargoed: 1st December 2016 14:07
- Keywords: Israel Palestinians Settlement Amona Benjamin Netanyahu Naftali Bennett
- Location: JERUSALEM / AMONA, RAMALLAH, WEST BANK
- City: JERUSALEM / AMONA, RAMALLAH, WEST BANK
- Country: Israel
- Reuters ID: LVA00258P0H8N
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: EDITORS PLEASE NOTE: THIS EDIT CONTAINS MATERIAL WHICH WAS ORIGINALLY 4:3
Israel's parliament gave preliminary approval on Wednesday (November 16) to a bill that would enable the retroactive legalisation of Jewish settlement outposts built on privately-owned Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank.
The United States has described the measure, promoted by far-right members of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's governing coalition, as "troubling" and said it could pave the way for the legalisation of dozens of outposts, built deep in the West Bank without Israeli government authorisation.
Outposts usually start with pre-fabricated huts on remote hilltops and lived in by a handful of settlers.
Over time, they acquire Israeli military protection and hook up to water and electricity networks, slowly becoming more formalised, despite being regarded as illegal.
The far-right Jewish Home party and members of Netanyahu's Likud faction have pushed for the law, in part to try to circumvent a Supreme Court order to destroy the settlement outpost of Amona, where 40 families live on Palestinian-owned land.
The demolition is set for Dec. 25.
Amona resident Elad Ziv said that he expected the Israeli right-wing government to reach a just solution, claiming that Jews could not be called "occupiers" on their own historic land.
Israel's attorney-general has said the proposed legislation likely violates international law and he would be hard-pressed to defend it against any challenges in the Supreme Court.
Palestinians denounced the proposed law as another blow to their goal of establishing a state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, with East Jerusalem as its capital. Peace talks on statehood collapsed in 2014, with Israeli settlement-building cited by Palestinians as a major obstacle to a final deal.
Hanan Ashrawi, a senior member of the Palestine Liberation Organization, said the bill was "a legal travesty" and a violation of international law.
"We consider all settlements illegal weather they are on public land or privet land, but now it extends the confiscation of territory to private Palestinian land where Settlers and the illegal Israeli occupation can steal --outright theft - Palestinian land, whether for public Palestinian use or private Palestinian property, in order to expand its settlement project, destroy the two-state solution and at the same time impose greater Israel on historical Palestine," Ashrawi said, shortly after the approval of the bill by the Israeli parliament.
The legislation offers monetary compensation or alternative plots to Palestinians who own land on which settlers have built homes without a formal state go-ahead. There are some 100 unauthorised settlement-outposts in the West Bank, where more than 350,000 Israelis live in other settlements built with government permission.
Naftali Bennett, the leader of Jewish Home, said this week that the legislation, if approved, would legalise 2,000-3,000 outpost housing units, lived in by around 15,000 people and will demonstrate to the settlers they are no longer second class citizens.
Most countries view all Israeli settlements on occupied land as illegal.
Netanyahu had sought to delay the legislation, apparently wary it may draw further U.S. censure and perhaps raise the chances of Barack Obama backing a United Nations resolution against settlements in the final days of his presidency.
But a ministerial committee defied Netanyahu on Sunday (November 13) by voting to send the bill to parliament, where the atmosphere on Wednesday was raucous among the right. The legislation will now go to committee and must pass several more votes to become law.
Preliminary passage of the bill was accompanied by promises from senior officials of Likud and the centre-right Kulanu party in the coalition that it would not advance through the next stages in parliament if the Supreme Court's standing was harmed.
But in a sign of possible coalition troubles ahead, Jewish Home leaders vowed to press on, with opposition politicians saying damage had already been done to a judicial body that many Israelis see as a guardian of human rights in a country without a formal constitution.
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