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Statement by the Federal Foreign Office on the retroactive legalisation of outposts

15.11.2016

A Federal Foreign Office Spokesperson issued the following statement today (15 November) on a decision taken by the Israeli Ministerial Committee for Legislation on 13 November:

Ignoring the order by the Israeli Supreme Court to clear the Amona outpost settlement by 25 December 2016 at the latest, the Ministerial Committee for Legislation has approved a bill to retroactively legalise outposts and forwarded it to the Knesset for consultation.

The Israeli Attorney General has made clear that he regards the bill as being in breach of the constitution and international law. Should the bill become law in its current form, the path to legalising a large number of further illegal outposts, which are located on privately owned Palestinian land, would be open.

We are following these developments with the greatest concern. The consultations have not yet been concluded. We therefore trust that the law will not be adopted in this form.

Background information:

Following a ruling by the Israeli Supreme Court, the outpost settlement Amona, which is illegal under Israeli law, must be cleared by 25 December 2016 at the latest, as it is located on privately owned Palestinian land. The residents of Amona, which is the largest outpost in the West Bank with some 250 residents and is illegal under Israeli law, have refused to be relocated so far.

At the end of October, the Government unsuccessfully applied for a further postponement of the clearance until July 2017. On 13 November 2016 and with votes of the ministers present, the Ministerial Committee for Legislation unanimously agreed a bill to retroactively legalise outposts. This bill would also apply to Amona. In accordance with the bill, Palestinian landowners could be compelled to give up their land in return for compensation. The bill will now be forwarded to the Knesset for further discussion.

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