In a final vote of 60-52, Israeli government coalition members passed the historic Regulation Law, legalizing 4,000 Jewish homes in Judea and Samaria and protecting them from new ownership claims.
In a late-night session on Monday, Israel’s parliament voted in favor of the Regulation Law, legalizing Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria which were established with state involvement and possibly built on private land or land not owned by the state. The final vote was 60 to 52.
The law, passed in its third and final reading, stipulates that communities built on private land or non-state-owned land will not be demolished. Rather, the land will be expropriated and the owner will be compensated.
It affects hundreds of instances in which Israelis built homes with government consent or encouragement, only later to discover that the land may be privately owned or otherwise in dispute. Often the claims brought by alleged landowners have no evidence.
Netanyahu was not present for the vote, after spending the day in London with UK leader Theresa May. His return flight was delayed.
The Israeli leader’s request that the vote be delayed until after his meeting with US President Donald Trump was denied.
The Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) party called the vote a “historic day that signals a change in direction for the State of Israel,” TPS reported. In a statement headlined “the beginning of sovereignty,” the party said the new law will serve as a “message to thousands of Israeli families in Judea and Samaria that they will no longer be second-class citizens.”
Naftali Bennett: ‘That’s Democracy’
“To our friends in the opposition who are surprised that a nationalist government would pass a bill in favor of the settlements – that’s democracy,” Education Minister Naftali Bennett, Jewish Home chairman, stated, adding his appreciation to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Likud party for supporting the historic legislation.
Ahead of the vote, Jewish Home Member of Knesset Shuli Moalem-Refaeli said the law was “dedicated to the brave people of Amona who were forced to go through what no Jewish family will have to again,” referring to the eviction of 42 families last week, Times of Israel reported.
Science Minister Ofir Akunis (Likud), the Times continued, said the vote was not just over this specific law, but rather about the right of the Jewish people to live in Israel. “This whole debate is based on one question: Who does this land belong to?” he told the plenary before the vote.
The bill was condemned by the Obama administration, the European Union and the United Nations, as well as by Israeli Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit and the Israeli left. The latter pledged to challenge the law in the High Court of Justice.
“Tonight it became clear that Netanyahu is willing to compromise the future of both Israelis and Palestinians in order to satisfy a small group of extreme settlers for the sake of his own political survival, Peace Now said in a statement. “In light of this madness, we must act as the responsible adults and turn to the Supreme Court in order to strike down this dangerous law.”
Opposition leader Isaac Herzog, head of the Zionist Union party, has been fighting vociferously against the bill’s passing, urging coalition members not to let it pass. Calling the law “a catastrophe for the people of Israel,” he claimed that it was precisely because of this issue that the UN Security Council voted in favor of the anti-Israel Resolution 2334 in December, condemning Jewish settlements in eastern Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria.
By: Terri Nir, United with Israel
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