State Department expresses ‘deep concern’ over Israeli settlement outpost bill
(JNS.org) The U.S. State Department strongly condemned an Israeli Knesset bill that seeks to retroactively legalize Jewish settlement outposts, saying Monday that the bill breaks with longstanding Israeli policy of not building on private Palestinian land.
“We’re deeply concerned,” Elizabeth Trudeau, the State Department’s director for press operations, told reporters in Washington, DC.
Trudeau said the legislation “could pave the way for the legalization of dozens of illegal outposts deep in the West Bank” and “would represent an unprecedented and troubling step that is inconsistent with prior Israeli legal opinion and breaks non-standing Israeli policy of not building on private Palestinian land.”
“Our policy on settlements is clear, we believe they are corrosive to the cause of peace. This legislation would be a dramatic advancement of the settlement enterprise, which is already gravely endangering the prospects for a two-state solution,” Trudeau added.
The legislation in question, known as the “Arrangement Law,” seeks to retroactively legalize some 2,000 settler outposts on private Palestinian land, including settler homes in Amona that are scheduled for demolition in late December. Despite passing a Knesset committee vote Sunday, the bill faces significant hurdles and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has so far opposed its advancement. Even if the bill becomes law, it might also be deemed unconstitutional by Israel’s Supreme Court.