Israeli Knesset approves bill legalizing illegal settlements

Jerusalem /PNN/

The Israeli Knesset approved Wednesday a controversial bill that would grant legal status to settlement outposts illegally constructed on privately-owned Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank.

The measure, promoted by far-right members of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s ruling coalition, passed its first reading in the Knesset on Wednesday with 58 votes supporting the bill and 50 opposing it.

The measure, which requires three more full parliamentary votes to become law, would apply to some 2,000 to 3,000 illegal settler homes in the West Bank, including the Amona outpost that is under a court order to be demolished by December 25.

The approval of the bill came three days after Israel’s Ministerial Committee for Legislation unanimously endorsed the draft legislation.

The vote came in total disregard to the international calls to stop Israel’s illegal construction activities.

US State Department spokeswoman, Elizabeth Trudeau, has earlier denounced the move as “unprecedented and troubling,” saying Washington is “deeply concerned” about the measure and hopes “it does not become law.”