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Israel’s Parliament Gives Preliminary Approval To Legalize Settlements

Israel’s Parliament Gives Preliminary Approval To Legalize Settlements

The Israeli parliament has approved a draft bill that would legalize settler homes built on private Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank, a measure that has drawn condemnation by left-wing MPs and Israel’s close ally, the United States.

Pro-settlement nationalists that dominate Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition government voted to move the bill through the Knesset on Wednesday.

Palestinians have condemned the bill and also the international community’s inaction.

Press TV reports:

The Palestinian Foreign Ministry on Thursday urged the international community to “uphold its legal and ethical responsibilities of providing security to the Palestinians,” and “opposing the crimes, violations, and aggression driven by the Israeli occupation.”

The call in a statement came a day after far-right members of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s ruling coalition passed its first reading of the bill in the Israeli parliament (Knesset).

The measure would apply to some 2,000 to 3,000 illegal settler units in the West Bank, including the Amona outpost that is under a court order to be demolished by December 25.

Over half a million Israelis live in more than 230 illegal settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem al-Quds.

Israeli officials “feed on the silence and the indifference of the international community to the enormous violations of international law, and all other signed agreements that protect against crimes against humanity,” read the Palestinian statement.

The statement also censured the actions by Israeli settlers to evict Palestinians from their homes.

Secretary General of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Saeb Erekat said all Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories are “illegal under international law.”

Erekat further said that the new measure by the Israeli parliament threatens the chances of ending the conflict in the occupied territories and the creation of a future independent Palestinian state.

The measure reaffirms Israel’s “will to bury the two-state solution, perpetuating the systematic denial of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people,” he said.

He appealed to the international community to take “concrete action” to protect Palestinians’ rights.

“The international community has the responsibility to halt all ties with Israeli settlements, including by banning settlement products and by divesting from companies profiting from the Israeli occupation,” Erekat said.

Israeli rights group Yesh Din also reacted to Wednesday’s ruling, pledging to “continue to assist the petitioners … and other Palestinian landowners whose land has been taken away… using every legal measure.”

The international community considers all Israeli settlements to be illegal, whether they are authorized by the regime or not.

Tel Aviv has defied international calls to stop its illegal construction activities, with its settlement expansion being among the main reasons behind the collapse of the last round of the so-called peace talks in 2014.

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