MK penalised for voting against law legalising settlements

Likud member of Israel’s Knesset Benny Begin [Yair Lieberman/Wikipedia]

Likud member of Israel’s Knesset Benny Begin

Likud member of Israel’s Knesset, Benny Begin, was suspended from a parliament committee yesterday for being the sole member of the coalition to vote against a bill which would see Israeli settlement outposts built on privately owned Palestinian land retroactively legalised.

The coalition that makes up the Israeli government is comprised of the Likud, United Torah Judaism, Shas, Kulanu, and Jewish Home parties, which would have unanimously moved forward the so-called “formalisation bill” in Monday evening’s preliminary vote had Begin not voted down the law.

According to Israeli media, Begin was penalised for his vote by being suspended from the Constitution, Law, and Justice Committee of the Knesset. Head of the coalition and Likud party member David Bitan reportedly wrote in a letter to Begin that the suspension would last three weeks.

The “moderate” Kulanu party had initially opposed the bill when a previous version included a clause that would retroactively legalise the Amona outpost, which the Israeli Supreme Court slated for demolition by 25 December.

The party was instrumental in striking a last-minute deal that removed the clause, with Kulanu head Moshe Kahlon taking credit for “protecting the rule of law” by insisting that the bill honour the Supreme Court decision, in spite of Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit reiterating that even the revised version of the law would contravene international law and be indefensible in Israeli court.

The current version of the legislation plans to temporarily relocate the Amona evacuees to a nearby plot of land under Israel’s Absentee Ownership Law, though Haaretz reported on Monday that Palestinian landowners have already come forward claiming the land in question.

(Source / 08.12.2016)


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