The Israeli parliament on Monday passed a law that retroactively legalizes thousands of West Bank settlement homes.
It is seen as the latest in a series of pro-shelter steps taken by the Israeli government since the election of Trump. The new US President seems to be more sympathetic towards Israel’s settlement policies than his predecessor.
The settlement homes are built unlawfully in private Palestinian land. According to this law the Palestinian land owners will be compensated either with money or with alternative land even if they didn’t want to concede their land.
The law passed 60-52 in the Israel’s 120-member Knesset (Knesset is Israel’s unicameral parliament) Monday late at night. It is very likely that this law will stir controversies and face legal hurdles.
Cabinet minister Ofir Akunis said during a debate prior to the vote, “We are voting tonight on our right to the land.
“We are voting tonight on the connection between the Jewish people and its land. This whole land is ours. All of it.”
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had expressed misgivings about the law. He had voiced his concern that the law may trigger international condemnation. However, at the time of the vote the Prime Minister was returning home from London. So he missed the vote.
Palestine has condemned the law.
“Nobody can legalize the theft of the Palestinian lands. Building settlements is a crime, building settlements is against all international laws,” Palestinian Tourism and Antiquities Minister Rula Maayaa was quoted as saying. “I think it is time now for the international community to act concretely to stop the Israelis from these crimes.”