Yesterday, Israel’s Knesset passed a bill aimed at retroactively legalizing settlement outposts build both without Israeli government approval, and built on privately owned Palestinian land. This aimed primarily at trying to block a court-ordered demolition of the Amona outpost.
The bill has been panned internationally, and even the US State Department described the bill as a “troubling step.” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly opposed the bill, but his Likud Party overwhelmingly supported it.
A big issue is that while Israeli settlements have long played fast-and-loose with Palestinian property rights, the new bill would aim to empower the government to legalize settlements that the government itself has already admitted were built on privately owned Palestinian land.
While that’s a winning issue for Israel’s right-wing parties looking for settler votes, analysts are also seeing it as a very risky proposition internationally, as whether or not it survives court battles, and it almost certainly won’t, the bill further raises the chances that President Obama will withhold his veto from any settlement-related bills at the UN Security Council.