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November 16, 2016 10:35 am

Outpost Regulation Bill on West Bank Homes Passes Preliminary Reading in Knesset

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The West Bank. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

The West Bank. Photo: Wikimedia Commons. – A bill to legalize more Israeli settlements passed its preliminary Knesset vote Wednesday amid growing political tensions surrounding the proposal.

The bill to legalize Jewish “outposts”—or settlements that did not receive appropriate administrative authorizations and are therefore illegal, according to Israeli law—passed with a narrow majority of 57 in favor to 52 against. The Israeli opposition announced that it will spare no effort to fight the legislation. The bill will now be referred to the Knesset’s Constitution, Law and Justice Committee, which will prepare it for the three Knesset readings ahead.

The vote on the “Arrangement Law,” which allows the Israeli government to retroactively grant contested Judea and Samaria outposts the necessary permits, followed internal division within the Jewish state’s governing coalition, with several factions expressing reservations over the measure.

The bill is crucial to the Habayit Hayehudi party’s attempts to thwart the eviction of the contested Samaria outpost of Amona, which is set for late December. On Monday, Israel’s High Court of Justice denied the state’s motion to postpone the eviction by seven months.

Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit has expressed strong opposition to the bill, warning that it will not stand up to judicial scrutiny and will compromise Israel internationally.

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