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Israeli draft bill on the retroactive legalisation of outposts in the West Bank

07.12.2016

A Federal Foreign Office Spokesperson issued the following statement today (7 December) on the draft bill on the retroactive legalisation of illegal outposts in the West Bank, which is to have its first reading in the Knesset shortly:

On repeated occasions, Israeli Governments as well as Prime Minister Netanyahu have committed themselves to removing outposts which, in their view too, are illegal. The current draft bill provides that they – including those built on private Palestinian land – be retroactively legalised.

We are deeply concerned about this development and have been taken aback by comments made by members of the Israeli Government in the debate. Such a bill violates international law.

Were it to be adopted in this form, it would seriously undermine confidence in the Israeli Government’s commitment to the two-state solution. We trust that intensive consultations will take place and that the law will not be adopted in this form.

Background information:

In a preliminary reading on 5 December, the Knesset approved a law on the retroactive legalisation of outposts (the Hasdara Bill), which was referred to the legislative committee and must now pass through three readings. According to the current wording of the bill, Palestinian landowners could be compelled to give up their land in return for compensation. This compensation would be 125% of the monetary value of the land. The right to appeal would be restricted. The bill attempts to remove any legal concerns by referring to the confiscation of land use rights of the private Palestinian land in question rather than direct expropriation. However that would amount to a de facto expropriation for non-official purposes and has also been described as being in breach of the constitution and international law by Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit. In addition to 31 outposts which have already been legalised or are currently being legalised, the law could result in the legalisation of another 50 outposts with around 4000 housing units.

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