Israel: West Bank Legalization Causing Massive Stir

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A law allowing the legalization of several settler outposts that were built on Palestinian land has hit a roadblock after two Israeli rights groups appealed the law to the higher courts, hoping to block the bill.

The Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Center, as well as Adalah, a non-profit Palestinian-run group headquartered in Israel, have asked Israel’s Supreme Court to overturn the current legislation, recently passed in parliament, which would allow the legalization of the West Bank communities.

According to the Associated Press, “The present law would legalize about 3,900 homes built on privately owned Palestinian land and around 800 others in unauthorized outposts, with the rest in recognized settlements” and the present landowners would receive financial compensation of 125 percent of the land’s value or another piece of land.

The criticisms that have spawned from this legislation are many, and it is being said that the move amounts to “legalized land theft” because Israeli law is being imposed on land that’s not their sovereign territories.

Suhad Bishara, the attorney for the Israeli rights group, Adalah, said, “This sweeping and dangerous law permits the expropriation of vast tracts of private Palestinian land, giving absolute preference to the political interests of Israel.”

However, backers of the bill state the communities, some around for dozens of years and are home to thousands of people, were built in “good faith” and always tacitly backed by several Israeli governments. The Palestinians have long wanted the West Bank and the eastern part of  Jerusalem to be part of their future independent state.

The law, adopted by the Knesset, which is the Israeli assembly, is the latest move taken by Israel’s government now that President Trump is in office.

The United Nations condemned the legislation and the European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini has admonished that “should it be implemented, the law would further entrench a one-state reality of unequal rights, perpetual occupation, and conflict.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had originally said this legislation might drag Israel into international legal prosecution but later agreed to it.

Trump administration has yet to comment on the matter and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu will be meeting with President Trump next week at the White House.

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