Israel Lawmakers Push To Legalize Illegal West Bank Outposts

JERUSALEM (JTA) — A controversial bill to legalize some unauthorized West Bank outposts was approved by a Knesset committee.

The Ministerial Committee for Legislation will now pass the bill on to the Knesset plenum.

The bill was sponsored by the Jewish Home party in an effort to save the Amona outpost,  which Israel’s Supreme Court determined was built on private Palestinian property and which it has ordered demolished by Dec. 25.

Under the bill, known as the Arrangement Bill, the government would pay the Palestinian landowners large sums of money and give them new property in exchange for their land.

The bill was brought to the committee Sunday by Jewish Home party leader Naftali Bennett and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, despite opposition by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

On Oct. 31, the State Attorney’s Office asked for a delay of seven months from the Dec. 25 deadline ordered by the Supreme Court to evacuate Amona, saying it could not arrange alternative housing for the residents before the target date. The government indicated at the time of the request that it would go ahead with the demolition of the settlement on time if required. The request was denied on Monday afternoon.

On Monday morning, opposition leader Isaac Herzog raised a firestorm by calling  either the outpost or the residents of Amona a “virus” in an interview.

“I understand the pain of the families, but [the Supreme Court] gave them two years to clear out, and look what this virus has done to the State of Israel and how dangerous it is to democracy, because of this nonsense,” Herzog told Army Radio.

Netanyahu called Herzog out on both Twitter and Facebook, calling on him to apologize for the comparison.

“I can’t believe Herzog used the term ‘virus’ in connection with settlers. They are flesh of our flesh, serve in the army, contribute to the country. Bouji, apologize immediately,” Netanyahu writes, using Herzog’s nickname.

Herzog later clarified on Twitter that he believes the controversial bill is the virus and called settlers “brothers.”

“The Amona bill is the virus. A dangerous virus for the court and democracy. The settlers are our brothers and I will care for them more than you lie to them,” he wrote.

Author

Your Comments

The Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. All readers can browse the comments, and all Forward subscribers can add to the conversation. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Forward requires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not and will be deleted. Egregious commenters or repeat offenders will be banned from commenting. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and the Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.

Recommend this article

Israel Lawmakers Push To Legalize Illegal West Bank Outposts

Thank you!

This article has been sent!

Close