In the preliminary vote in the Knesset, Israel agreed 60-49 to back a bill that would retroactively legalize all illegal settler outposts in the occupied West Bank, potentially stopping the evacuation of some 4,000 settlement units built on privately-owned Palestinian land.
For the bill to actually become law in Israel, it will have to pass the Knesset in three separate votes. The bill of uniformly opposed by the opposition, while only Benny Begin on Likud voted against the bill among coalition members.
The main impetus of the bill was to “save” the illegal outpost of Amona from evacuation, though ironically it appears too late to do that, as the Israeli High Court has ordered that outpost evacuated no later than the 25th, and the bill won’t impact that date.
Faced with the international backlash the legalization would bring, Israel has sought to moderate the provisions of the bill a bit, including now promising to give “compensation” to the Palestinian owners of the land if they can prove they own it. Either way, members of the far-right government are presenting this as the next step toward annexation, and it is likely many internationally will see it the same way.
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