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Israel passes bill to seize private Palestinian land for Jewish settlements

Israel passes bill to seize private Palestinian land for Jewish settlements

Earlier on Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu resisted pressure from the Jewish Home party to floor the bill before his visit to the United States due on February 15.

"Being in this room was a particularly moving moment for me as the prime minister of Israel", Netanyahu wrote on Facebook as he was "with British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, exactly in the place where almost 100 years ago Foreign Secretary Balfour signed the declaration recognizing the right of the Jewish people to a national home in the Land of Israel". Partisans may make arguments supporting one side or the other's claim to the land, but a serious newspaper is expected to report impartially on the dispute, not to adjudicate it. But critics say the measure is illegal and would make peace with the Palestinians even more hard. To assign the entire West Bank to one side or the other in the Palestinian-Israeli dispute, as the newspaper has done in a number of articles this autumn and earlier this winter, ignores worldwide agreements signed by both parties that assert the status of the land is to be negotiated. They say the settlements, home to 600,000 Israelis, are making it increasingly impossible to partition the land into two states - a position that has wide global backing.

The move is seen as another step towards at least partial annexation of the West Bank, and could lead to a host of illegal settlements built on privately owned Palestinian land being legalised retroactively.

Houses in the West Bank Jewish settlement of Karmel, near Hebron, on May 24. Netanyahu's own attorney general has said he will not defend the bill before the country's Supreme Court, and Netanyahu has reportedly expressed concerns that the legislation could strengthen a case against Israel in the International Criminal Court.

North Korea faces 'overwhelming' United States response if it uses nuclear arms - Mattis
Beijing also claims the Diaoyu islands, which are now under Japanese administration, called the Senkakus by Tokyo. Its president, Park Geun-hye, had her duties suspended last month after impeachment over corruption allegations.

Though passed, the bill could still be challenged.

Hanan Ashrawi, a senior member of the Palestine Liberation Organization, the main Palestinian political umbrella body, said in a statement that the law gave settlers a green light to "embark on a land grab".

Last week, Trump's spokesman Sean Spicer told Israel that new settlement construction in the West Bank "may not be helpful" in achieving a Middle East peace - a mild rebuke compared to those by the Obama administration.

Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman said last week: "The chance that it will be struck down by the Supreme Court is 100 percent". Prime Minister Netanyahu is supportive of the bill but wants to coordinate actions with Washington. "I said that I will act according to our national interest".


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