UN Secretary General: Israel's Land-grab Law in Contravention of International Law

Antonio Guterres joins France, U.K., Jordan and Turkey in condemning so-called 'Regularization Law,' saying it will have far-reaching legal consequences for Israel.

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres speaks to reporters at the UN headquarters, February 1, 2017.
Mary Altaffer/AP

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said on Tuesday evening the so-called "Regularization Law" passed by Israel a day earlier violates international law and will have far-reaching legal consequences for Israel.

The new law allows the state to declare private Palestinian land on which settlements or outposts were built, “in good faith or at the state’s instruction” as government property, and deny its owners the right to use or hold those lands until there is a diplomatic resolution of the status of the territories.

Guterres' remarks come after the United Nations' Mideast envoy said the law crossed a "very thick red line." Nickolay Mladenov said the legislation "opens the floodgates to the potential annexation of the West Bank." If Israel moves to solidify its control over the area, it would imperil the internationally backed idea of establishing a Palestinian state alongside Israel as part of a negotiated peace deal, he said.

Joining Jordan and Turkey, France also condemned the measure and called on Israel to "take back" the law "to honor its international commitments." Britain said the law "damages Israel’s standing with its international partners" and threatens "the viability of the two-state solution."

The new law provides a mechanism for compensating Palestinians whose lands will be seized. A landowner can receive an annual usage payment of 125 percent of the land’s value as determined by an assessment committee for renewable periods of 20 years, or an alternate plot of land if this is possible, whichever he chooses.