The Israeli Knesset passed last Monday, February 6, a controversial bill that retroactively legalizes thousands of settler homes built on privately owned Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank. The passage of what has been dubbed the “Regularization Law” has drawn widespread anger from Palestinian leaders, members of Hadash and the Communist Party of Israel, and human rights groups.
The Knesset voted to approve the the contentious bill by a vote of 60 to 52 to, despite warnings by the government’s top legal counsel who had previously called it “unconstitutional.” The so-called “Regularization Law” applies to about 4,000 settlement homes in the West Bank, allowing the owners of which to claim ignorance that the land they built on was privately owned and furthermore, claiming that they had even received encouragement from the state to do so. Critics see the newly passed law as yet another step towards an at least partial annexation of the West Bank, with the potential of leading to a host of illegal settlements built on privately owned Palestinian land being legalized retroactively.
Hadash MK Yousef Jabareen (Joint List) said the bloc’s legislators have decided not to petition the Supreme Court against the law because they “do not recognize the authority of the court to deliberate on matters related to the occupied West Bank.” He added: “The Knesset shouldn’t legislate about the West Bank and the Supreme Court shouldn’t have authority over the West Bank.”
“We see all Israeli settlements in the West Bank as illegal and immoral and we prefer not to get involved in the Israeli legal framework that classifies settlements as legal or illegal. However, we are in touch with human rights organizations who petitioned the courts and we support their petitions,” Jabareen concluded.