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Israel draft bill would annex major West Bank settlements

illegal Israeli settlements
File photo of illegal Israeli settlements.

Israel’s former justice minister Ayelet Shaked submitted a draft bill in the Knesset to annex a number of Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, reported the Jerusalem Post.

The legislation would see Israeli “sovereignty” applied to settlements in the Jordan Valley region, as well as the Ma’ale Adumim and Gush Etzion settlement blocs in the central and southern West Bank.

According to the report, the bill also includes Efrat and Betar Illit settlements and the Megilot Region of the Dead Sea.

Shaked, who heads up the Yamina party, “clarified that the application of sovereignty would be for the areas within the settlements and would not cover roads and archaeological and industrial parks in the regions of Judea and Samaria [the occupied West Bank].”

Although there is currently a caretaker government in place, with coalition negotiations continuing, the Knesset still sits and is able to pass legislation.

READ: Israel worried European court ruling will force labelling of illegal settlement produce 

“There is a diplomatic window of opportunity and willingness on the part of the US for this kind of annexation that will not return,” Shaked said.

“We cannot afford to hesitate or wait. We must take advantage of this window of opportunity immediately and begin to apply sovereignty over these areas. It is for this reason that the State of Israel cannot be dragged into another election cycle.”

In remarks carried by pro-settler outlet Arutz Sheva, Shaked stated as part of the bill’s explanation: “The Jordan Valley, Gush Etzion and Ma’ale Adumim areas have always been an integral part of the historic Land of Israel, the birthplace of the Jewish people”.

“After the nation was exiled from its land, it remained faithful to it in all the lands to which it was scattered, and never ceased praying and hoping to return to its land and renew its political freedom. From this historical and traditional connection, Jews in every generation have strived to return and take hold of their ancient homeland.”

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