Israeli Allies Condemn Settlement Law

A new Israeli law legalizing dozens of unlawfully built West Bank settlement outposts came under heavy criticism on Tuesday from some of its closest allies.

Amid the uproar, the Trump administration remained quiet about the law — paving the way for further possible action by emboldened Israeli hard-liners ahead of a trip to the White House by Israel's prime minister on next week, AP wrote.

The law, passed late Monday, sets out to legalize dozens of West Bank settler outposts built on privately owned Palestinian land. Critics said the law amounts to legalized land theft. They also said it is legally problematic by imposing Israeli law on occupied Palestinian land.

The Palestinians seek the West Bank and East Beit-ul-Moqaddas, captured by Israel in the 1967 war, as parts of a future independent state. Most of the international community considers Israeli settlements illegal. Some 600,000 Israelis now live in the two areas.

In Paris, Palestinian official Saeb Erekat said the law puts "the last nail in the coffin of the two-state solution" and slammed Israel for "trying to legalize looting Palestinian land."

Secretary General Antonio Guterres expressed "deep regret" over the bill, saying it was "in contravention of international law and will have far-reaching legal consequences for Israel."

Some of Israel's closest allies, including Germany, Britain and the Czech Republic, also condemned the legislation.

Germany's Foreign Ministry said its faith in Israel's commitment to a two-state solution was "deeply shaken."

Germany said Monday that a summit with Israel planned for later this year had been delayed, with Israeli media reporting it was due to Israel’s controversial new settlements law.

Britain's Minister for the Middle East Tobias Ellwood said the law "damages Israel's standing with its international partners."

Jordan, a key Arab ally, said such "provocative acts" could "fuel the anger of Muslims and drag the region to more violence and extremism."

In December, the UN Security Council passed a resolution declaring settlements illegal.

The International Criminal Court in The Hague already is conducting a preliminary investigation into Israeli settlement policy.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, in Paris for talks with French President Francois Hollande, said he would seek to fight the new law in international organizations.

"What we want is peace ... but what Israel does is to work toward one state based on apartheid," Abbas said.

In all, the law would legalize some 3,900 homes built on private Palestinian land — about 800 in unauthorized outposts and the remainder in recognized settlements. The original landowners would be eligible for financial compensation of 125 percent of the land's value, as determined by Israel, or a comparable piece of alternative property.

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