Palestinians: World Should Punish Israel for Settlement Law
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - A Palestinian Cabinet minister is calling on the international community to punish Israel over a contentious law it has passed that could retroactively legalize thousands of West Bank settlement homes.
Palestinian Tourism and Antiquities Minister Rula Maayaa said Tuesday that "nobody can legalize the theft of the Palestinian lands."
"I think it is time now for the international community to act concretely to stop the Israelis from these crimes," she said.
The explosive law, which was approved by lawmakers late the previous night, is the latest in a series of pro-settler steps taken by Israel's hard-line government since the election of Donald Trump as US president. It is expected to trigger international outrage and a flurry of lawsuits against the measure, the Associated Press reported.
The Israeli Knesset voted 60 to 52 to approve the contentious bill late on Monday. Minutes after the vote, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) slammed the new law as a means to "legalize theft" of Palestinian land.
The law demonstrated "the Israeli government's will to destroy any chances for a political solution," the PLO said in a statement, stressing that the "Israeli settlement enterprise negates peace and the possibility of the two-state solution".
The so-called "Regulation Bill" applies to about 4,000 settlement homes in the West Bank for which settlers could prove ignorance that they had built on privately owned land and had received encouragement from the Israeli state to do so.
The bill is seen as another step towards at least partial annexation of the West Bank, and could lead to a host of illegal settlements built on privately owned Palestinian land being legalized retroactively.