[JURIST] Israel’s Knesset [official wesbite] on Monday voted in favor of a revised bill intended to legalize more than 4,000 unauthorized settlement homes situated in the West Bank. The Palestinian land was occupied [Al Jazeera report] by Israel during the 1967 Middle East War and has since become home to more than 100 settlement outposts, not all of which have been approved by the government. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu [official profile] and Education Minister Naftali Bennett have collaborated to ensure the new bill’s passing in an effort to promote Israeli sovereignty and eventually annex most of the West Bank. The international community has warned, however, that the bill will only legitimize stolen lands and hinder any possible peace with Palestine. To become official law, the bill will have to undergo three more votes in the Knesset, which are yet to be scheduled.
Recent conflicts between Israel and Palestine [HRW backgrounder] over settlements in the occupied West Bank have raised concerns over possible human rights violations. The controversial Amona settlement in the West Bank will still be dismantled [JURIST report] by December 25, causing the displacement of at least 40 Israeli families. Earlier in November Israel’s Ministerial Committee for Legislation unanimously approved [JURIST report] the Formalization Bill to legalize the West Bank outposts. In part, the bill was intended to stop the evacuation of Amona outpost. 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) 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 a family slept inside. 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.