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Israeli Parliament Legalizes 4000 Jewish Settlements on Private Palestinian Land

Israeli Parliament Legalizes 4000 Jewish Settlements on Private Palestinian Land

Both outposts and settlements are illegal under global law as they were built on lands occupied by Israel in the 1967 Mideast War, where the Palestinians wish to build their future state. Once planted with tomatoes, cucumbers and okra, the wind-swept hilltop now hosts the white trailer homes of an Israeli settlement outpost that took root more than 20 years ago.

"The controversial Knesset action, ahead of Prime Minister Netanyahu's meeting with President Trump in Washington, is misguided and likely to prove counter-productive to Israel's core national interests", said AJC CEO David Harris.

One of the key questions people in this region have had about the new United States administration concerns its commitment to finding a lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

The law allows the government to expropriate private land on which Jewish settlers have erected homes.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu supports the measure.

Under the previous USA administration the State Department under then secretary of state John Kerry was clear that settlement building was endangering the cause of peace.

But, he said, these recent Trump administration statements send Israel a "flashing yellow light", when what the Israelis had expected was a green light.

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Under the new law, settlers could remain on the land if they built there without prior knowledge of Palestinian ownership or if homes were constructed at the state's instruction.

If Israel's parliament legislates for the Palestinians - rather than control them by military rule - then Palestinians have the right to become citizens and vote in Israel, Meridor argued.

"Don't cross a line we've never crossed before", Meridor pleaded with his fellow legislators in a newspaper column. "No government in Israel has applied its sovereignty to the West Bank". In addition, PCHR called upon the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention to fulfill their legal obligations through taking measures to guarantee Israel's respect for the convention, in hopes that the International Criminal Court (ICC) would positively move towards opening a criminal investigation into the situation in Palestine in general and the settlement file in particular as soon as possible.

The Palestinians want the West Bank, east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip - territories Israel captured in the 1967 Mideast war - for their future state.

According to the Israeli human rights group Peace Now, Israel had begun constructing 1,195 housing units in settlements in the first half of 2016, which they said marked a 40 percent increase on the previous six month period.

The senior PLO official does not expect the global community measures to intimidate the Netanyahu government, which will continue its annexation policies in an undisturbed way given the change of policies in Washington.

Since Donald Trump took office as United States president on January 20, Israel has announced plans for nearly 6,000 more settlement homes in the West Bank, drawing European and Palestinian condemnation but no criticism from the White House. Monday's bill seeks to retroactively protect about 4,000 of those homes.

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