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Palestine slams Israel 'apartheid law' for West Bank settlers

January 10, 2023 at 5:05 pm

Israeli policemen take security measures as Israeli forces demolish a Palestinian house in Salfit, West Bank on January 10, 2023 [Nedal Eshtayah/Anadolu Agency]

Palestine, on Tuesday, denounced a Knesset bill to apply Israeli laws on settlers living in settlements in the Occupied West Bank, Anadolu News Agency reports.

Early on Tuesday, the Knesset (Israel’s parliament) approved the first reading for a bill to extend the “emergency regulations” for settlers living in settlement blocks in the Occupied Territory.

The bill is set to be forwarded to the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee for second and third readings.

In a statement, the Palestinian Foreign Ministry termed the bill as an “apartheid law” that legalises Israel’s annexation of the West Bank settlements.

“Such colonial and discriminatory law […] grants settlers the same rights of Israeli citizens inside Israel,” the statement said.

READ: Bill giving illegal settlers full rights as citizens passes first reading in Israel

The Ministry warned that the bill “constitutes a grave violation of international law, the international humanitarian law and the Geneva Conventions.”

1967 Occupation, Naksa - Cartoon [Sarwar Ahmed/MiddleEastMonitor]

1967 Occupation, Naksa – Cartoon [Sarwar Ahmed/MiddleEastMonitor]

The Ministry said it considers cooperation with legal experts to review the impact of the Israeli bill on the status of Occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and measures to confront it.

The bill was first enacted in 1967 to apply Israeli laws on the settlers living in the settlements in the West Bank and was, since then, extended every 5 years.

The draft will benefit nearly half a million Israeli settlers who live in Israeli settlements across the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

The bill was a reason for the fall of the former Israeli government of Yair Lapid in 2022 as it failed to pass it.

Under international law, all Jewish settlements in Occupied Territories are considered illegal.