Israel MPs give initial backing to bill to legalise settler homes

The measure which would apply to an estimated 2,000 to 3,000 Jewish homes in the occupied West Bank requires three more full parliamentary votes to become law. 

Israel MPs give initial backing to bill to legalise settler homes

World Bulletin / News Desk

Israel's parliament gave initial approval on Wednesday to a controversial bill to legalise thousands of West Bank settler homes, a measure that has drawn international anger and divided the government.

There have been reports that a behind-the-scenes compromise could see the bill now stall.

The vote in the Knesset, or parliament, was 58-50.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu initially opposed the bill, fearing an international backlash and legal implications, but voted in favour on Wednesday.

Netanyahu faces pressure to hold his right-wing coalition together and not be seen as moving against the powerful settler movement.

There were reports that Netanyahu had reached a compromise with Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, who had threatened not to vote, that could see the bill stall.

Kahlon, whose centre-right Kulanu party controls 10 seats, voted for Wednesday's initial backing but said he would withdraw support in the future if it "harms" the country's high court.

The statement was a reference to the West Bank Jewish outpost of Amona, which is under a high court order to be demolished by December 25 because it was built on private Palestinian land.

The bill would legalise Amona, where some 40 families live, along with other homes built on private Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank.

Last Mod: 16 Kasım 2016, 15:38
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