Israeli Law Retroactively Legalizes Settlements

The Israeli Knesset approved a highly contested bill Monday that would retroactively legalize Israeli settlements on private Palestinian property in the West Bank. The measure, passed with a 60-52 vote, would apply to approximately 55 settlements throughout the occupied West Bank and has been criticized as an attempt by the Israeli government to annex parts of Palestinian land. The settlements, built on privately owned Palestinian property, were previously illegal under Israeli law. The law’s opponents, including members of the Knesset, called the law a “de facto annexation” of Palestinian land, and warned that it could make Israel a target for war-crimes charges by the International Criminal Court, which is already investigating the legality of Israeli settlement efforts. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu initially opposed the law, then told lawmakers to put the law on hold until he discussed it with President Donald Trump this month. On Monday, Netanyahu reversed his position, backing the bill. He said he had told the Trump administration of his decision in advance.