Israel’s outpost legalization bill passes first Knesset reading

A bill which retroactively legalizes some 2,000 homes in Judea and Samaria, many of which were built on privately-owned Palestinian land, passed its first Knesset reading on Wednesday afternoon, with 58 in favor and 50 opposed. According to the latest version of the bill initiated by Shuli Mualem from the Jewish Home party, the land will be taken over by the state which will either provide land in return or compensation of 125 percent of the land's value. On Monday, the Supreme Court turned down the government's petition for the delay of the removal of the outpost of Amona by seven months and ordered that it be removed by December 25. The bill is opposed by Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu and Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, who said that it contravenes international law and damages the standing of the Supreme Court. Finance Minister Moshe Kachlon announced that his party will support the bill but will stop the legislative process if the high court's standing is damaged. Opposition chairman Yitzhak Hertzog claimed that the bill recognizes "robbery and theft".

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