Knesset committee approves legislation to legalize dozens of West Bank outposts


(JTA) — A Knesset committee has approved legislation that would legalize 66 West Bank outposts.

The bill is called the Regulation Law 2, and comes after a similar law passed in February 2017 was frozen by Israel’s Supreme Court. The original Regulation Law allowed the government to expropriate private Palestinian land on which illegal outpost homes were built, as long as the outpost was built in good faith or with government support. The Palestinian landowners would be compensated.

The new legislation limits itself to illegal outposts that are claimed to have been built on what is considered to be state land. It gives a Knesset-appointed committee two years to legalize the outposts. It also would connect the outposts to electricity and water, and provide residents with municipal services.

The Attorney General’s Office in a statement after Sunday’s vote said the legislation “raises significant legal problems, which may even lead to international repercussions and expose Israel to significant risks in this respect.”

The legislation will still require a preliminary vote in the Knesset plenum and then must pass three readings. It was proposed by Jewish Home lawmaker Bezalel Smotrich, who also sponsored the first Regulation Law.

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