In historic move, Israel votes to legalize settlement outposts in Judea and Samaria
(JNS.org) In an historic and potentially contentious move, the Israeli Knesset voted 60-52 Monday evening to legalize some 4,000 settlement outposts in Judea and Samaria.
“Our determination paid off,” said Education Minister Naftali Bennett (Jewish Home), whose party led the drive for the legislation, which was initially conceived in December following an agreement to approve the Israeli High Court’s decision to demolish the Amona outpost that eventually took place last week.
“To our friends in the opposition who are surprised that a nationalist government would pass a bill in favor of the settlements – that’s democracy,” he added.
The passage of the bill, which has been heavily criticized by left-wing opposition in Israel and the international community, retroactively legalizes some 4,000 settler outposts that sit on private Palestinian land and offers compensation to its owners.
Known as the “Regulations Bill,” the legislation overturns nearly 40 years of Israeli judicial rulings against the construction of homes on private Palestinian land. Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mandeblit has said that the bill is unconstitutional and would not withstand legal challenges.
“This vote is not about whether we are with or against the settlers, it’s about what the state of Israel needs,” Opposition leader Isaac Herzog (Zionist Union) said. “This government is passing a bill that is an acute danger to the state of Israel,” he said.
Herzog further said the bill is the first step toward de-facto annexation of Judea and Samaria.
“This legislation is de-facto annexation,” he continued. “Our opposition to the law stems from our opposition to annexation... We have just a few more minutes to stop this terrible train before it leaves here and stops at The Hague.”
Photo: In this Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017, file photo, heavy machinery work at a construction site in the West Bank Jewish settlement of Ariel. Israel’s prime minister is moving ahead with a contentious law that would legalize dozens of settlement outposts in the West Bank, despite questions about the bill’s legality and a warning from the White House that settlement construction “may not be helpful.” (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit, File)