Rights Groups Challenge Israel's New Settlements Law
Feb 09, 2017 03:02 PM EST
Rights groups challenged Israel's new settlements law that legalized nearly 4,000 settler homes built on privately owned Palestinian land in the West Bank. Petitions were submitted on Wednesday at Israel's Supreme Court, urging the heavily criticized law to be annulled.
The law was approved by the parliament on Monday, and has since drawn criticism from Europe and the United Nations (UN). Israel's attorney general also described it as unconstitutional.
Two right groups that have asked the Israel Supreme Court to strike down the new settlements law is The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel (Adalah), and the Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Center. The groups requested the court for an injunction to freeze any registration of the plots as under settler ownership, acting on behalf of 17 Palestinian villages and towns.
The law would allow the retroactive legalisation of 3,921 homes in 72 settlements and 55 outposts built on approximately 818 hectares (2,020 acres) of private Palestinian land, according to Peace Now. Nearly 550,000 Israelis reside alongside the West Bank and East Jerusalem, territories which were seized by Israel in 1967. Its the same territories that 2.6 million Palestinians too, want for a future state.
The Supreme Court has been supporting the Palestinian property rights and annulled whatsoever laws it considered unconstitutional. The legal process of those cases took a span of months, although the court usually rules on injunction requests within days.
BBC News reported that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas regarded the law as an aggression against the Palestinian people. Further, he threatened to suspend security cooperation with Israel if the ramp-up of Israeli settlements would continue.
Adding to the fire, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that the action went against international law. French President Francois Hollande said something similar along the lines, asserting that it paved the way for the annexation of territory Palestinians want as part of a future state.
Meanwhile, the administration of the new U.S. President Donald Trump has so far reflected a softer approach toward the Israeli settlements law despite the ongoing opposition from the rights groups. Trump will have an official meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, on Feb. 15 in Washington.