J Street condemns the Knesset’s passage today of the “Regularization bill,” which retroactively authorizes over 50 settlement outposts built illegally and without government permission on privately-owned Palestinian land in the West Bank.
This outrageous bill legalizes land theft and undermines Israel’s fundamental respect for the rule of law. It gives a green light to further settlement expansion, seizure of Palestinian land and other steps designed to prevent the future creation of a Palestinian state and deny basic rights to Palestinians living in the West Bank. It was passed over the objections of virtually every voice of common sense in the international community and Israeli society, including the Israeli government’s own attorney general, who has made clear that the bill is unconstitutional and cannot be defended in a court of law.
The bill passed in large part due to the support of Prime Minister Netanyahu, who earlier cautioned against the bill as detrimental to Israel’s international standing. By supporting an unjust and illegal bill that could severely harm Israel’s reputation and the future of the two-state solution, the Prime Minister has chosen to shamefully appease and placate his right-wing critics. Not for the first time, Israel’s leader has prioritized his political survival over the best interests of his country and his people.
This law will be appealed to the Israeli Supreme Court, where we expect and hope that it will be struck down. But by passing such irresponsible legislation and forcing the court to overrule it, Israel’s government will only increase right-wing agitation against the rule of law and sow further divisions in Israeli society.
This bill is a glaring example of what can and will happen if the US government refuses to stand up loudly and clearly on behalf of the two-state solution and in opposition to settlement activity. The fact that the legislation was moved swiftly through the Knesset within weeks of the Trump administration taking office shows that Prime Minister Netanyahu and the members of his governing coalition no longer fear US opposition to their settlement drive.
J Street urges friends and supporters of Israel in the American Jewish community, in Washington, and around the world to make clear both to our government and to Israeli leaders that this kind of legislation contravenes basic democratic and Jewish values and threatens Israel’s long-term security and survival as the democratic homeland of the Jewish people.