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Israel legislative committee approves bill legalizing West Bank outposts

[JURIST] Israel's Ministerial Committee for Legislation unanimously approved [Times of Israel report] the Formalization Bill on Sunday, which will legalize outposts in the West Bank. These outposts had been previously built without permission from the Palestinians. In part, the bill was intended to stop the evacuation of Amona outpost, which the Israel Supreme Court [official website] ruled [JURIST report] was built on private Palestinian land and must be demolished by December 25. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu [official profile] was against the measure, wanting to delay the vote until the High Court of Justice rules on the government's request to delay the Amona evacuation. This was the first of several steps before the bill would be adopted, the next of which is that it must pass in Parliament later this week.

Recent conflicts between Israel and Palestine [HRW backgrounder] over settlements in the occupied West Bank have raised concerns over possible human rights violations. In March the spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said [JURIST report] that the office is concerned about the apparent extra-judicial execution of a Palestinian man in the West Bank. In January Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] urged [JURIST report] businesses to cease operations in Israel settlements. In August 2015 UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged both sides of the conflict [JURIST report] to reconcile and move towards peace after an attack occurred in the West Bank village of Duma, where Jewish extremists allegedly set fire to a Palestinian home while the family slept. Last April HRW alleged [HRW report] that Israeli settlement farmers in the occupied West Bank are using Palestinian child laborers in dangerous conditions in violation of international laws.

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