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Israel ministerial committee advances bill that legalises outposts

The Israeli Ministerial Committee for Legislation yesterday approved a bill that would see the government legalise 66 illegal settlement outposts and thousands of settlement units in the occupied West Bank, Arab48 reported.

The bill was initiated by the extremist Jewish Home MK Bezalel Smotrich and the Likud MK Yoav Kish.

Israel's Attorney General criticised the bill and saying it "raises significant legal problems, which may even lead to international repercussions and expose Israel to significant risks in this respect."

The bill gives power to the councils of settlements to approve settlement plans and projects, as well as to freeze the demolition orders until the regulation takes place.

Smotrich praised the advancement of the bill, stating that it would lead to the legalisation of some 6,000 illegally built Israeli settlement units throughout the occupied West Bank.

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"This is the definitive answer to the murderous terrorism of the Arabs," he said in a statement.

Israeli Culture Minister Miri Regev hailed the advancement of the bill and vowed that the government "will continue to invest in and strengthen settlement. This has been our land for thousands of years and so it will be forever. It is worthwhile for those who call themselves 'Palestinians' to recognise this."

Meanwhile, the left-wing Israeli Peace Now settlement watchdog harshly criticised the move.

"The right-wing government consists of lying and convicted criminals, who are dancing on the blood of terror victims in order to build and legalise the most organised crime in Israel – the settlement enterprise. It's illegal, it's unconstitutional, it's immoral and it will not work," the NGO said in a statement reported by the Times of Israel.

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