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Israel's parliament preliminarily approves settlement legalization

By Andrew V. Pestano
Israel's parliament preliminarily approves settlement legalization
A bill introduced to the Knesset, Israel's parliament, that would retroactively legalize Jewish settlements in Palestinian territory in the West Bank was approved on Wednesday. The bill counters a High Court of Justice ruling on Monday rejecting a government request for a delay in demolishing settlement homes in Amona, an Israeli-occupied settlement in the West Bank. File Photo by Debbie Hill/UPI | License Photo

JERUSALEM, Nov. 16 (UPI) -- The Knesset, Israel's parliament, on Wednesday gave preliminary approval to a bill legalizing settlements on Palestinian territory in the West Bank.

The bill will retroactively legalize Jewish settlements built on Palestinian territory occupied by Israelis. Despite voicing opposition to the bill, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu voted in favor.

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Under the bill, which is not yet law, Jewish settlers who build homes on private Palestinian land will need to financially compensate the owners of the land.

The Knesset's actions counter Israel's High Court of Justice decision on Monday to reject a government request for a delay in demolishing settlement homes in Amona, West Bank.

The conservative Jewish Home party, led by Naftali Bennett, sponsored the bill, which still faces several legislative hurdles before becoming law.

Following the U.S. presidential election victory for Donald Trump, Bennett last week said the "era of a Palestinian state is over."

Trump's victory has emboldened conservative Israelis and Jewish settlers to increase settlement building in the West Bank, while some Israeli lawmakers have called for all Palestinian territory to be annexed, The Wall Street Journal reported.

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The White House in late August said Israel's decision to construct new housing on Palestinian territory poses "serious and growing threat" to a two-state solution.

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