New law may legalize contested construction in Judea, Samaria

Knesset members unanimously approved draft legislation that legalizes communities in Judea and Samaria.

The Knesset’s Ministerial Committee on Legislation on Sunday night unanimously approved the Regulation Bill, a draft legislation that legalizes 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 law stipulates that communities which were built on private land or non-state-owned land will not be demolished. Rather, the land will be expropriated and the owner of the land will be compensated.

This law addresses hundreds of instances in which Israelis built homes with government consent or encouragement, later to discover that the land may be privately owned or otherwise in dispute.

The bill was put forward by Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) party leader Naftali Bennett over objections from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and opposition from attorney general Avichai Mandelblit on the grounds that the proposed law allows for expropriation of private land in a manner that contravenes Israeli law and does not abide by state commitments under international law.

The law was advanced against the backdrop of a ruling by the High Court of Justice that the state needs to dismantle nine houses in the community of Amona, situated north of Jerusalem, by the end of 2016.

The law will be presented at the Knesset’s plenum for a first reading on Wednesday.

Israeli residents in Judea and Samaria welcomed the approval as an historical step towards resolving a long-fought dispute and giving final legal approval to their houses.

Nabil Abu Rdeineh, spokesman for Palestinian Authority (PA) head Mahmoud Abbas, threatened that the Palestinian leadership will seek action in international institutions if the proposed laws are passed.

By: Aryeh Savir, World Israel News