BY TOVAH LAZAROFF
The groups announced their plans to turn to the court almost immediately after the Knesset authorized the legislation in a historic 60-52 vote.
Non-governmental groups plan to petition the High Court of Justice against a new Israeli law that retroactively legalizes close to 4,000 settler homes on private Palestinian property.
The groups — Peace Now, Yesh Din and the Association for Civil Rights in Israel — announced their plans to turn to the court almost immediately after the Knesset authorized the legislation in a historic 60-52 vote.
In the months leading up to the vote, Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, which offers the Palestinians compensation, was unconstitutional.
He added that he did not plan to defend it before the High Court.
Left-wing legal experts have argued that the legislation is also illegal under international law, while right-wing ones have said that it actually places Israel in compliance with international law because it compensate the Palestinians for the land. Until now the Palestinians have not been offered any financial compensation for the loss of their property.
Yesh Din said, ”The land regulation law, approved today, is an unlawful, immoral law sanctioning land-grab and rewarding thievery.”
"The law constitutes a fundamental violation of the right to property; given the Knesset’s lack of authority to legislate upon the West Bank, the landowners’ struggle will continue in court,” it added.
"By passing this law, [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu makes theft an official Israeli policy and stains the Israeli law books,” Peace Now said.
"By giving a green light to settlers to build illegally on private Palestinian land, the legalization law is another step towards annexation and away from a two state solution.
“In light of this madness, we must act as the responsible adults and turn to the Supreme Court in order to strike down this dangerous law,” Peace Now.
After the Knesset passed the legislation MK Bezalel Smotrich (Bayit Yehudi) thanked Peace Now and Yesh Din. He implied that their persistent petitions to the HCJ to force the state to take down settler homes on private Palestinian land compelled right-wing Israeli legislators to draft the bill.
The international non-governmental group Human Rights Watch warned Israel that the legislation could sway the International Criminal Court to rule on the issue of West Bank settlements.
“Israeli officials driving settlement policy should know that the Trump administration cannot shield them from the scrutiny of the International Criminal Court, where the prosecutor continues to examine unlawful Israeli settlement activity.”
This article was published on The Jerusalem Post's website on February 7, 2017.