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Israel's Knesset Legalizes Settlement Outposts in the West Bank

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Mixed signals: Israel policy under Trump still in murky stage

The bill would legalise at least 3,921 Israeli settlement units in the occupied West Bank built in contravention of Israeli and worldwide law, and would be the first time the Israeli government has applied civil law to land officially recognised as Palestinian-owned in the occupied West Bank, according to Amichai Cohen, an Israeli law professor who spoke to AFP. Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, a member of the Jewish Home party that is pushing to hold the vote, said the state would hire outside attorneys to defend the law if necessary. The two discussed the economy and partnerships in the post-Brexit era, and mainly talked about Iran and what can be done to stop their aggressiveness and spread.

To many observers, Israel's relationship with the United States reached a nadir under President Barack Obama.

"If adopted into law, it will have far-reaching legal consequences for Israel and greatly diminish the prospects for Arab-Israeli peace", Mladenov said. Netanyahu is trying to take advantage of the newness of the Trump administration which in recent weeks has dangerously escalated tensions by threatening Iran. "It seeks to conquer the Middle East; it threatens Europe; it threatens the West; it threatens the world", he said during a meeting with British Prime Minister Theresa May in London.

Israel's Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit reportedly told Mr Netanyahu earlier this month that he would not defend the legislation against the expected legal challenges because he believes it violates both Israeli and global law.

Nationalist lawmakers say the Jewish people have a connection to the land and a right to it. They warned that the measure would threaten the peace process.

"Nobody can legalize the theft of the Palestinian lands".

Second, the leaders recommended asking Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to demand the new USA administration denounce the settlement expansion in favor of a necessary two-state solution.

B'Tselem, a watchdog monitoring human rights abuses in the settlements, slammed the bill.

Palestinians clash with Israeli border police during clashes at a checkpoint between Shufat refugee camp and Jerusalem, Oct. 9, 2015.

Former Israeli embassy official Shai Masot
Former Israeli embassy official Shai Masot

Opposition leader Isaac Herzog likened it to a "freight train", saying: "Its cars will carry worldwide indictments against Israeli and Jewish soldiers and officers". "Israel's continued settlement and occupation policies go unpunished by the global community".

The law allows the government to expropriate private land on which Jewish settlers have erected homes.

Moments before the two leaders met, May's spokesman told reporters that she planned to express to Netanyahu her opposition to settlement activity in the West Bank and east Jerusalem.

Peace Now, an Israeli organization opposed to settlement activity, said the law will legalize 4,000 homes, expropriate 2,000 acres of private Palestinian property, and legalize 55 unauthorized hilltop outposts.

Crucially, Israeli MPs have voted for a law whose principal impact will be on Palestinian landowners who have no say in electing those MPs, and to whom the wider Israeli political system is in no way democratically accountable.

Israel's parliament was set Monday to finalise a bill that would legalise dozens of Jewish outposts in the occupied West Bank, after the USA had been updated on the issue. "It's a major change in policy over the last 50 years", said Yedidia Stern, a law professor at Israel's Bar-Ilan University. PCHR believed at time that Chairing Israel on this Committee would encourage Israel to continue to commit blatant violations of the intentional law rules and even the conventions by the Committee itself.

The Knesset on Monday night passed the controversial Regulation Bill into law, 60-52. The Israeli prime minister will travel to Washington next week for his first visit since Mr Trump took office.

"And all of this is due to the Prime Minister's weakness in the face of the extreme right."

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