Israeli law to resettle illegal outposts vacated in 2005 advances in Knesset
The Israeli Knesset passed the first reading of a new bill late on Monday night, allowing Israeli settlers to occupy outposts in the West Bank vacated since 2005.
Forty Knesset members voted to support the draft legislation, while 17 lawmakers stood against the long-threatened move.
"There is no longer any justification to prevent Israelis from entering and staying in the evacuated territory in northern Samaria," said the introductory text to the law, which would open the door to the resettlement of the Homesh, Ganim, Kadim, and Sa-Nur , all built on private Palestinian land in the West Bank.
Judaea and Samaria is a term used by Israel for the West Bank, which has been occupied since 1967.
The new bill is part of Netanyahu's electoral pact with extreme-right parties that support continued settlement construction in the West Bank, which is illegal under international law.
Homesh has in particular been the centre of pro-settlement activity since it was evacuated in 2005, with attempts to rebuild the settlement continuing despite Israel itself considering this illegal.
All West Bank settlements constructed since 1967 are considered illegal under international law. They form a key plank of Israel’s continued occupation of the West Bank, with over 700,000 Israeli settlers living in the Palestinian territory.
Israeli authorites have taken over Palestinian lands and bulldozed Palestinian homes across the West Bank since 1967. Human rights groups have accused Israel of committing the "crime of apartheid" across the Palestinian territories.
The new bill, which would breach international law, comes amid a flurry of legislative activity that has caused mass protest across Israel.
On Tuesday morning, the Israeli parliament approved the first reading of a bill limiting the Supreme Court's ability to overturn laws it deems unconstitutional - a key element of a judicial overhaul package that has fuelled weeks of protests.