Knesset to pass bill legalizing Israel confiscating West Bank land for settlements

PNN/ Jerusalem/

The Israeli Knesset is set to pass a bill that will legitimized Israeli settlements and seizure of West Bank lands and private property.

According to Haaretz, the revised measure could apply to 16 West Bank settlements and outposts. Netanyahu will submit the bill to the Knesset for the final second and third readings on Monday, and, while the opposition plans to filibuster it, the bill is expected to pass into law.

Haaretz says that the bill would allow the state to declare private Palestinian land on which settlements or outposts were built “innocently or at the state’s instruction” as government property, and deny its owners the right to use or hold those lands until there is a diplomatic resolution of the status of the territories. The term “innocently” refers to instances in which settlers ostensibly did not know they were building on privately-owned Palestinian land.

The revised measure specifies 16 settlements and outposts where the bill might be applied. Demolition orders against homes built on land claimed by Palestinian owners would be frozen for a year pending proceedings to determine whether the state may seize the land.

Even though a survey carried out by Haaretz shows that the bill is expected to pass, the opposition has reportedly filed 227 objections to the bill, demanding to change the wording of some of the bill’s sections.

Haaretz added that some of the demands were also “provocative requests,” like demanding that the name of the bill be changed to “the fraud bill,” or that clauses be added stating that the bill is aimed at serving the electorate of Habayit Hayehudi, the party headed by Education Minister Naftali Bennett.

The measure, however, will not apply to the Amona outpost, which the High Court has ordered dismantled by February 8; nor to nine homes in Ofra and 16 homes in Netiv Ha’avot that the court has already ruled must be demolished.