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Israeli Knesset set to vote on ‘unconstitutional’ Palestinian land appropriation bill

Israel/Palestine
on 16 Comments

The Israeli Knesset on Monday night is scheduled to vote on the so-called “Regularization Bill,” which, if passed, will appropriate hundreds of hectares of Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank by legalizing — under Israeli law — thousands of settlement units built on privately owned Palestinian land.

The bill would legalise at least 3,921 Israeli settlement units in the occupied West Bank built in contravention of Israeli and international 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.

Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem remain illegal under international law.

Hours before the scheduled vote, the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Nickolay Mladenov, released a statement condemning the bill and “urging” Israeli legislators to reconsider the move.

“If adopted into law, it will have far-reaching legal consequences for Israel and greatly diminish the prospects for Arab-Israeli peace,” Mladenov said. “The bill has been deemed unconstitutional by the Attorney General of Israel and is in contravention of international law.”

On Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has recently voiced support for the bill, reportedly requested that the vote be postponed because of “one aspect of the bill that needed to be examined,” according to sources speaking to Israeli daily Haaretz.

Israeli Education Minister and leader of the far-right Habayit Hayehudi party, Naftali Bennett, and his supporters reportedly shot down the request.

While the vote is scheduled to happen at 10:30 p.m. in Israel, Anat Ben Nun, a spokesperson for Peace Now, an Israeli NGO and activist group aimed at promoting a two-state solution, told Mondoweiss that the vote could still possibly be postponed.

Ben Nun said Netanyahu’s support for the bill was an attempt to “divert the public debate” from corruption allegations levied against him, as well as a move to “satisfy the extreme right wing.”

“Netanyahu is promoting legislation that he himself argued will lead Israel to the ICC,” Ben Nun said, referring to the International Criminal Court. “By passing this law, Netanyahu makes theft an official Israeli policy and stains the Israeli law books. By giving a green light to settlers to build illegally on private Palestinian land, the legalization law is another step towards annexation and away from a two-state solution.”

MK Aida Touma-Suliman (Joint List), told Mondoweiss that she believes the bill, which she called “part of the crawling annexation” of Palestinian land will be passed.

“It looks like it has enough support in the Knesset to go through,” the MK said.

The MK added that she believes the bill is a reaction to the UN security council resolution passed in December, which demanded a halt of all Israeli settlement activity on occupied Palestinian territory.

“We will vote against the law and do all of our efforts to stop it,” Touma-Suliman said. “We call upon the international community to act immediately to stop it or punish the occupation if the bill is passed.”

On Monday, Haaretz released a damning editorial, criticizing the bill.

“The bill doesn’t aim to ‘regularize’ but to steal,” the editors wrote.

“If the vote takes place, the majority of our lawmakers will raise their hands to approve a bill that will steal land from Palestinians,” the continued. “The theft will come after the fact; to accommodate settlements and outposts that were built on private land, the land will be expropriated from its owners, while the thieves living on it will be granted ‘the presumption of innocence.’”

Meanwhile, the Palestine Liberation Organisation called the bill a “declaration of war.”

Mladenov’s statement reiterated that Israeli settlements are illegal under international law, adding that settlements and settlement expansion “present one of the main impediments to peace.

Sheren Khalel
About Sheren Khalel

Sheren Khalel is a freelance multimedia journalist who works out of Israel, Palestine and Jordan. She focuses on human rights, women's issues and the Palestine/Israel conflict. Khalel formerly worked for Ma'an News Agency in Bethlehem, and is currently based in Ramallah and Jerusalem. You can follow her on Twitter at @Sherenk.

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16 Responses

  1. mcohen.
    mcohen.
    February 6, 2017, 2:35 pm

    Finally a plan to build decent housing for those that cannot afford a home due to the high price of property in Israel,especially the Bedouin.As per usual the plop goes on plip about “needs to be examined” needs,what needs …….pink champagne on ice would be nice.get a move on ……Floppy ploppy flippy floppy

    • eljay
      eljay
      February 6, 2017, 3:06 pm

      Cause and effect: Israel proposes further injustice and immorality…

      mcohen.: Finally a plan to build decent housing for those that cannot afford a home due to the high price of property in Israel …

      …and a Zionist publicly plays with himself.

      … Floppy ploppy flippy floppy

    • oldgeezer
      oldgeezer
      February 6, 2017, 3:06 pm

      @mcohen

      Nothing whatsoever to do with the high price of property in Israel but everything to do with stealing other people’s property and getting a government subsidy to do so.

      Israel, the largest organized criminal gang of thugs in the world

    • amigo
      amigo
      February 6, 2017, 3:51 pm

      “Finally a plan to build decent housing for those that cannot afford a home due to the high price of property in Israel,especially the Bedouin. ” mcohen

      Are you claiming Israel has changed it,s policy of building only “Jewish communities” , to communities where all can live in peace and harmony as equals, ???.

      Remember mcohen , MW has archives.

      • Atlantaiconoclast
        Atlantaiconoclast
        February 6, 2017, 8:27 pm

        Don’t call them Jewish communities, call them what they are: Jews ONLY colonies. Why others here aren’t doing this is beyond me. We must start branding Israeli apologists in ways that completely delegitimize them. After all, they spend their whole effort in delegitimizing anyone who stands up for Palestinians as “anti Semites.” And it works!

    • Talkback
      Talkback
      February 7, 2017, 8:23 am

      Mcohen: “Finally a plan to build decent housing for those that cannot afford a home …”

      Sure. How about dispossessing Jews outside of Israel for the same reasons?

      Mcohen: “… especially the Bedouin …”

      As if they could ever move to your racist “Jews only” – colonies in Israel’s “Bohemia and Moravia”.

    • Elizabeth Block
      Elizabeth Block
      February 7, 2017, 10:22 am

      Since when will the Bedouin be allowed to live in Jewish settlements?

  2. amigo
    amigo
    February 6, 2017, 4:14 pm

    The Knesset just passed their land grab/theft legislation.

    Also , in Palermo , Italy , the Cosa Nostra in a closed session approved legislation making the sale of all drugs legal.Included in this same bill was a clause legalizing the carrying of weapons by members of the Italian Mob.They claim it is a matter of security and the survival of the only , “nation state of the Cosa Nostra People” in the world.

    • oldgeezer
      oldgeezer
      February 6, 2017, 5:01 pm

      At least the cosa nostra are prosecute in accordamce with the law. Time to do the same with the GOI and every settler.

      • amigo
        amigo
        February 6, 2017, 5:50 pm

        “At least the cosa nostra are prosecute in accordamce with the law. ” OG

        That,s because some in Italy have the courage to prosecute criminal elements in their midst .Unfortunately no one in the international community has the will or courage .

  3. mcohen.
    mcohen.
    February 6, 2017, 4:15 pm

    Hear hear there there what about the Bedouins they need the housing.especially after the fiasco del Torre in the south.uno vedech uno vedech ,habbibi build baby build

    • oldgeezer
      oldgeezer
      February 6, 2017, 4:58 pm

      @mcohen

      The bedouins had what they needed before the israelis stole it. On multiple occassions.

      A rogue state with ill repute.

  4. JLewisDickerson
    JLewisDickerson
    February 6, 2017, 8:04 pm

    UPDATE: Israel Passes Contentious Palestinian Land-grab Bill in Late Night Vote
    LINK – http://english.pnn.ps/2017/02/06/israel-passes-contentious-palestinian-land-grab-bill-in-late-night-vote/

  5. Kay24
    Kay24
    February 7, 2017, 2:12 am

    So as predicted the thieves stole during the night…..

    “Israel Passes Contentious Palestinian Land-grab Bill in Late Night Vote
    Right praises vote as ‘historic day for the settlement movement’ | Bill allows Israel to declare private Palestinian land state property | Israeli opposition warns: bill will land Israel in The Hague.
    read more: http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.770099

    It is up to their enablers to hold them accountable – but wait, didn’t the US promise them more aid to keep the illegal squatters happy and fit to harass more Palestinians?

  6. Talkback
    Talkback
    February 7, 2017, 8:31 am

    Great news! And Trump’s allowing Israel to dig its grave even faster. Cheeky bastard.

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