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Right pushes for initial Knesset vote next week to authorize outposts

CM 29/04/2021

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Right-wing politicians are pushing to bring a bill to legalize the West Bank outposts as early as Wednesday.
In the last Knesset, an initial bill on the matter was approved 60-40 in December just before the parliament dispersed to head to elections.
Neither Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu or Alternate Prime Minister and Defense Minister Benny Gantz were present for the vote.
After the Knesset reconvened, Religious Zionist Party MK Orit Struck refiled the private member’s bill on April 18. Typically there is a 45-day wait before a vote can be held on the matter.
On Thursday both she and RZP head Bezalel Smotrich sought to speed up the bureaucracy by asking Arrangements Committee Chairman Miki Zohar to implement a waiver procedure so the matter could be voted on immediately.
Should Zohar move the matter forward, the Knesset would have to hold another initial reading on the bill, after which it would need committee approvals before it is brought back for a first reading.
As of press time Zohar had not decided on whether to bring the matter to the Arrangements Committee.

In the event a government is not formed and the country heads to a fifth election, Smotrich and Struck want to maximize the Knesset’s ability to legislate by advancing the matter now. Should a non-Netanyahu government be formed, the fear is it would not be able to move on the outposts even though there is enough support in principle among parliamentarians to pass a bill on the matter.
“Due to the government’s instability” and the humanitarian problems caused to the residents of the outposts, which they referred to as young settlements, it is important to move quickly, they said.
At issue are 70 illegal fledgling communities, some of which have been in existence for more than two decades.
Their approval would expand Israel’s territorial holding in Area C, a move the Biden administration and the international community would oppose.
The bill would grant de-facto legalization to 70 out of 100 outposts and set a two-year process in motion for their legalization.
In the bill’s text, Struck explained that the security cabinet had already in 2017 created a committee to authorize the outposts, and that this legislation actualized that policy decision.
Meretz MK Yair Golan tweeted his opposition to the legislation, noting that most of the nation “does not want annexation” and that the phrase “young settlements” used by the Right was code for illegal settlements.

The Right has argued that most of the outposts were given initial nods of approval by government ministries and that the time had come to complete the process.  Source: Jerusalem Post

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