11/17/2016, 13.06
ISRAEL - PALESTINE
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Jerusalem, law legalizing the seizure of Palestinians land

Knesset approves the first reading of the far right norm that would legalize the seizure of private Palestinian land. For the final vote an absolute majority is needed. Peace Now: Netanyahu is "focused on internal power struggle." Bernard Sabella: " European interventions and unity among Palestinians essential ". Doubts about Trump and US policies. The sunsets on the project of "two peoples, two states."

Jerusalem (AsiaNews) - Legalizing theft, handing over the nation’s political life to the settlers, permanently shelving the birth of a Palestinian state, ignoring the provisions of international law and the decisions of the same Israeli courts. Contacted by AsiaNews Israeli activists and Palestinian political leaders voice their concern in the aftermath of the Knesset vote [Preliminary] that, in fact, legalizes the seizure of private Palestinian citizens’ lands and puts an end to the two-state solution. And they attack the government of Benjamin Netanyahu which, in order to hold onto stay in power, violates "the rule of law."

Yesterday, Israel's parliament gave the preliminary green light to the approval of a law that would legalize thousands of settlements in the West Bank, compared with a compensation for the Palestinians. The norm, which has recently received the green light from a ministerial committee on behalf of the government, shows the power and the influence exercised by the settler lobby in its full extent.

With the entry into force, the provision would also sanction the existence of the Amona outpost; a territorial entity considered illegal by the Israeli judiciary itself, of which it ordered the eviction [and subsequent demolition] by 25 December.

The law, which applies to about 2/3 thousand homes for Jewish settlers, requires the approval of the absolute majority of Knesset members. At first reading the provision received 58 votes in favor and 50 against.  Therefore, only three are need to get 61 [the executive is supported by 66 parliamentarians, ed], thereby ensuring the passing into law. Parliamentary sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, refer to a possible sideline agreement to stall the norm with the Israeli Prime Minister in favor.

Interviewed by AsiaNews Anat Ben Nun, director of external relations of Peace Now, an Israeli NGO at the forefront against the occupation, stresses that the "policy" of legalization of Netanyahu's settlements "began during the previous term of office." These choices, add the activist, show that he "is not really interested in the two-state solution", but  only on the internal power struggle in the country, particularly "with the minister [Naftali] Bennet and  faces this pressure. "

In response to the parliamentary vote, the US administration headed by Barack Obama has expressed "deep concern". However, the uncertainty revolving around the future policies in the region of the new president Donald Trump, who takes office on January 20 at the White House, are exploited by Israel's right to promote occupation.

"The Israeli right has too much haste in celebrating the victory of Donald Trump," says the spokesperson for Peace Now. "Throughout the election campaign - he continues - Trump has made conflicting statements about Israel and Palestine. And because of its unpredictable nature, no one can say now what the policy in the region will be ". This is why "the two-state solution must be kept alive," says Anat Ben Nun, and it is "our task and that of the international community" to ensure "the millions of Palestinian rights" are defended.

Bernard Sabella, a Catholic, representative of Fatah in Jerusalem and Executive Secretary of the Council for Palestinian refugees in the Middle East Churches, underlines that the law confirms the "ambitions" of the Israeli right, which "wants to annex the West Bank." They are convinced that Trump "will give them a free hand" in policies toward the Palestinians and the region. "I do not know what will happen - says the Catholic leader speaking to AsiaNews - but right now Europe's intervention is essential " to stop the escalation. Brussels, he adds, "can not remain inert, it would be a disaster" because this is not a question of “sympathizing with  Israeli policy, but international law."

According to the Palestinian leader a part of the Israeli right considers it has a " not only political, but also religious legitimacy," to do what it wants, regardless of the laws. "A dangerous attitude - he adds - because it puts Israel above the law and international standards."

"It is a minority group - he continues - but it is very organized and manages to establish itself on the majority of the country. And those opposed, including activists and human rights NGOs, are accused of working in the pay of foreign agendas or anti-Israel sentiment. " A political solution is needed that restores "human dignity" even to Palestinians, concludes Sabella, that "it is essential that the Palestinian leadership is gatherings unity and cohesion to defend the rights of his people with more force and vigor."

According to Peace Now, in 2016 the Israeli administration - in the hands of the military - which controls the territories of the West Bank has given the green light for 2,623 new settlements. These include 756 illegal houses and those "legalized" afterwards. To date at least 570 thousand Israelis live in over 130 settlements built by Israel since 1967, the starting date of the occupation. 

International law considers these settlements illegal; a position disputed by the Israeli government, which in recent years has increasingly strengthened its expansionist policy. Added to the settlements are also at least 97 outposts, considered illegal not only by international rights but by the Israeli government.

The peace talks broke down in 2014, triggering an escalation of violence. (DS)

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