World Bulletin / News Desk
The U.S. said Monday it is “deeply concerned” by a recent bill in Israel that could legitimize illegal settlements in the West Bank.
“If this law were enacted, it could pave the way for the legalization of dozens of illegal outposts deep in the West Bank,” State Department spokesman Elizabeth Trudeau told reporters. “This would represent an unprecedented and troubling step that's inconsistent with prior Israeli legal opinion and also break long-standing Israeli policy of not building on private Palestinian land.”
Members of the Israeli Knesset’s Ministerial Committee for Legislation unanimously moved to approve the bill Sunday that would retroactively legalize West Bank settlements.
The settlements are illegal under international law, and Israeli daily Haaretz reported that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit are opposed to the legislation.
It would have to face several more readings in the Knesset before it becomes law.
“I would note we understand this legislation has several more steps to go before it's passed,” Trudeau said. “We hope it does not become law.”
She declined to comment on possible U.S. action in the UN Security Council should the bill become law.
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