The Knesset's chief legal advisor has asked the Israeli Supreme Court to reject petitions against the controversial Settlements Regulation Law which gives retroactive authorisation to thousands of settler homes constructed on private Palestinian property in the occupied West Bank.
The law, passed in January this year, would see the status of dozens of so-called settlement "outposts" regularised. All settlements are considered illegal under international law.
According to the Jerusalem Post, in a 20-page brief submitted to the court, Knesset chief legal adviser Eyal Yinon and legal assistant Avital Sompolinsky argued that "the Knesset can legislate for the West Bank in certain cases, even though it is standard practice not to do so".
Yinon and Sompolinsky noted that until now, the Knesset and the government have held that Israel's parliament does not legislate for Area C – around 60 per cent of the West Bank. Thus, they wrote, the Settlements Regulation Law "is unique within the landscape of Israeli legislation".
The officials claimed that "the land expropriation is not permanent and is only until such a time as there is a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."
In summary, "the brief asked the High Court of Justice to reject the NGO petition and uphold the law. It also voiced support of the government's legal brief, which defended the legislation's legality as well, including the right of the Knesset to pass laws for Judea and Samara [the West Bank]."
The co-chairs of the Knesset Land of Israel Lobby, MKs Yoav Kish and Bezalel Smotrich, praised the legal advisor's position. "The document supports the government's response seeking to reject the petition and allow the just law that we enacted to work and put an end to the absurd situation in which those who lost in the ballot promote settlement evacuations through the Supreme Court."