Netanyahu seeks to legalize ‘settlement’ communities in Judea and Samaria

With Prime Minister Netanyahu’s support, the Knesset is set to reconsider a bill that would legalize thousands of homes in Judea and Samaria in the face of a scheduled evacuation in early February. 

The Knesset is scheduled to reconsider a bill on Monday that will officially legalize approximately 4,000 housing units in Judea and Samaria.

“Tomorrow we will submit to the Knesset what is being called ‘the regulation law,'” Netanyahu said at his weekly Cabinet meeting on Sunday.  “The law is designed to normalize the status of Jewish settlement in Judea and Samaria once and for all and prevent recurrent attempts to harm the settlement enterprise.”

The Regulation Law, which had been unanimously approved by the ministerial committee in November, was introduced in order to prevent the evacuation of Jewish communities that are determined ex-post facto by Israel’s High Court to have been built on private Palestinian land.

The concern for such assurances were raised as a High Court deadline for the dismantlement of the community of Amona, located north of Jerusalem, was approaching. Amona was determined by the court to have been built on private Palestinian land and was ordered to be demolished by the end of 2016.

In the face of major criticism against the proposed bill, from members in the international community including Obama’s US State Department, the United Nations and Germany, Israel moderated the bill to exclude the community of Amona from the final version.

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As the deadline for the community’s demolition approached, Amona’s residents agreed to an arrangement with the government whereby 24 of the 42 families would be moved to a nearby hill to be incorporated as State Land, thereby protecting them from any future evacuation. However, the deal was essentially nullified when other Palestinian claimants approached Israel’s High Court arguing alleged ownership over the new plot of land.

The residents of Amona are now facing an upcoming evacuation scheduled for early February in the absence of any new developments.

By: Jonathan Benedek, World Israel News