Knesset panel advances 'settlements bill'; coalition postpones final vote

The final vote on the bill was planned to take place on Monday afternoon, but coalition chairman David Bitan announced that the vote will be postponed to Tuesday.

January 30, 2017 13:34
2 minute read.
settlements bill ‏

Rally outside the Knesset in support of the so-called settlements bill ‏. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)


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The special joint panel of representatives from the Knesset Law, Constitution and Justice and Foreign Affairs and Defense committees passed on Monday the controversial so-called settlements bill, which retroactively legalizes close to 4,000 settler homes on private Palestinian property in Area C of the West Bank.

Although the final vote on the bill was planned to take place on Monday afternoon, coalition chairman David Bitan (Likud) announced that the vote will be postponed to Tuesday.

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Bitan explained that Knesset schedule is already busy on Monday, so voting on Tuesday will make the discussion easier.

Meanwhile, hundreds of pro-settler demonstrators rallied outside the Knesset in favor of the legislation.

MK Merav Michaeli (Zionist Union) said that she had been reached by the coalition to support the postponement and was even offered a week-long delay of the vote. However, she clarified that the opposition is against such move. "If they want to kill the bill, they should do it themselves," Michaeli said, suggesting that even lawmakers from the coalition have doubts about the bill. "It should be clear that we are against this bill," she added. 

The Knesset House Committee will meet later on Monday to determine the length of the discussion on this matter on Tuesday.  

During the panel discussion, MK Michal Rozin (Meretz) made labeled the legislation "the theft [of land] bill" and "the bill to damage our foreign relations."

"Supporting the bill shows that you forgot your Jewish moral," she added. When she asked the participants "why won't you annex the whole territory already?" MK Bezalel Smotrich (Bayit Yehudi) replied "the act of annexing is of something that is not ours, this is our land."

MK Nachman Shai (Zionist Union) a member of the panel that opposes the bill, said on Twitter that the government is leading the country in the wrong direction. "This bill will be cancelled by the Supreme Court and the International Court in the Hague. The much we regulate [illegal settlements] the much we go down," he said. 

Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this report.

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