Israel Ministers to Weigh Bill Meant to Legalize West Bank Outposts

Officials say proposal will be postponed until Netanyahu panel will hand in report on the ways to decriminalize settlements built on private Palestinian land.

The Ministerial Committee for Legislation is due to discuss Sunday a bill that would legalize construction on private Palestinian land, Haaretz learned on Thursday.

According to the bill, initiated by Habayit Hayehudi MK Zevulun Orlev, Palestinian owners could not demand the clearing of residential construction on their land if they failed to claim it for 4 years since the construction's conclusion.

migron - Haaretz - August 3 2011

Instead, the bill would allow the court to compensate the claimant or provide him with an alternative tract of land that would both be nearby and of equal value.

A similar bill was proposed this past Sunday, but the discussion of its approval was postponed for another two months, by which time a panel formed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to inspect the legal avenues through which illegal outposts could be made legal is due to hand in its conclusions.

Officials have estimated that the new bill would also be postponed as to wait for the results of Netanyahu's panel.

In October, the PM instructed Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman to set up a task force to explore ways to legalize houses in the settlements built on private Palestinian land.

The decision was prompted by heavy pressure from settlers and rightists who rued the state's decision to demolish several outposts built on private Palestinian land over the next half year.

In February, Netanyahu and three other senior ministers - Ehud Barak, Moshe Ya'alon and Benny Begin - met with the attorney general and other senior legal officials.

The product of that meeting was a decision to demolish all outposts built on private Palestinian land, but to try to retroactively legalize any illegal construction in settlements or outposts that took place on state land.

The state subsequently submitted affidavits to the High Court of Justice detailing the timetable for the demolitions.

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