02/07/2017, 09.09
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The Knesset legalizes the seizure of Palestinian land

Israel's parliament gives the green light to the law with 60 votes in favor and 52 against. In the face of evictions, Palestinians will receive a sum of money or other land. The judiciary ready to resort to court against the norm. Harsh criticism from Peace Now and B'Tselem: A "disgrace", making "theft" a "state policy."


Jerusalem (AsiaNews) - The Knesset has finally approved a controversial rule that would retroactively legalize thousands of Israeli homes in the West Bank, illegal under international law.

The law also applies to the "outposts" [settlements made without official approval in the areas occupied by Israel since 1967, in the aftermath of the Six Day War], with the exception of Amona that remains subject to eviction decree.

Israel's parliament ratified the entry into force of the norm with 60 deputies in favor out of a total of 120; 52 MPs against.

The new law provides that the Palestinian owners of the land will no longer have any right to the land; in exchange for the expropriation, they will receive a sum of money or other land in different places.

Analysts and Middle East policy experts point out that the Israeli decision confirms the expansionist policy that the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has started following the victory at the US presidential Donald Trump. The recent approval of thousands of new settlements should also be seen in this context.

The executive hawks, heedless of international protests, trust in the green light of the new administration after years of criticism and (more) stringent positions of outgoing President Barack Obama.

The vote of the Israeli parliament has angered the leaders of Palestinian institutions as they see the possible emergence of an autonomous state growing increasingly remote. In a note the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) stresses that it "legalizes" "theft" of Palestinian land. It shows "the will of the Israeli government to destroy all possibility of a political solution."

There has also been criticism within Israel, with a part of the judiciary ready to fight the norm through the courts. Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit defines the law unconstitutional and stresses that he will not defend it in court.

According to Peace Now activists with the vote it is now "clear" that "Netanyahu intends to jeopardize the future of Israelis and Palestinians to pander to a small group of settlers", with the sole aim of "ensuring their political survival".

The prime minister, the statement continues, "makes the theft an official component of Israeli policy" and takes another step in the opposite direction to the "two-state solution." "In the face of this madness – it concludes - we must act as responsible adults, and turn to the Supreme Court to cancel this dangerous law."

Harsh criticism even from the B'Tselem movement, at the forefront of denouncing violence in the occupied territories, which says that the law shows that "Israel does not plan to loosen control over the Palestinians and theft of their lands."

This law, continues the statement, only serves to give "a semblance of legality" to this expropriation policy and is a "disgrace" for the state and for its legislature and "a slap in the face to the international community" .

Peace talks between Israel and Palestine broke down in 2014, triggering an escalation of violence.

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