Controversial bill for regulating settlements passes preliminary reading

An amended version of the law for regulating the status of Israeli communities established by former governments on privately-owned Palestinian land in Judea and Samaria passed its preliminary hearing in the Knesset Monday by 60 votes to 40. It faces three further readings before it becomes law, with immediate effect on the case of the 40 families in Amona, who were ordered by the High Court to abandon their village by Dec. 20. If carried, the law would allow these families to temporarily move their homes a short distance from their present site until they are given a new location. Members of the coalition government supported the bill, with the exception of MK Benny Begin. It was tabled against the opinion of Attorney General Avihai Mendelblitt, who maintained that the amended version was still questionable in constitutional terms.


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