In Brief

Israel passes controversial West Bank settlement bill

PLO condemns law that retroactively legalises thousands of homes built on disputed land

Israel's Knesset has passed a controversial new law that retroactively legalises thousands of homes built on Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank.

The regulation bill "applies to around 4,000 homes for which settlers could prove ignorance that they had built on privately owned land and had received encouragement from the Israeli state to do so", Al Jazeera reports.

"The original Palestinian landowners are to be compensated with money or alternative land," the BBC says.

The Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) immediately released a statement describing the bill as a means to "legalise theft" and a step towards partial annexation of the West Bank.

"The Israeli settlement enterprise negates peace and the possibility of the two-state solution," it said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu supported the bill, which is seen as yet another in a series of pro-settlement moves that have taken place since US President Donald Trump took power.

Opposition leader Isaac Herzog compared the legislation to a "freight train" whose "cars will carry international indictments against Israeli and Jewish soldiers and officers".

Herzog also warned that the law would lead to Israel being tried at the international criminal court, reports The Guardian.

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