Egypt: Outpost law ‘destructive’ to two-state solution
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Egypt: Outpost law ‘destructive’ to two-state solution

Cairo blasts Israel’s new legislation legalizing settlements built on private Palestinian land, which it says ‘contravenes laws, international conventions’

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi listens to US Secretary of State John Kerry during a meeting at the presidential palace in Cairo on May 18, 2016. (Amr Nabil/Pool/AFP)
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi listens to US Secretary of State John Kerry during a meeting at the presidential palace in Cairo on May 18, 2016. (Amr Nabil/Pool/AFP)

Egypt on Tuesday condemned Israel’s approval of a law legalizing Jewish outposts built on private Palestinian land in the West Bank, saying it was “destructive to the possibility of reaching a two-state solution, enshrining the illegal status of settlements in contravention of laws, international conventions and UN Security Council resolutions.”

The Egyptian Foreign Ministry said such unilateral action could thwart attempts to revive the latent peace process between Israel and the Palestinians.

Egypt thus joined other Arab leaders in condemning the controversial legislation.

Jordan and Turkey, two other of the few Middle Eastern countries to have diplomatic ties with Israel, also strongly denounced the law as counterproductive to reaching a two-state solution to the conflict.

The Arab League accused Israel of “stealing the land” of Palestinians.

The Regulation Law, passed by a vote of 60 to 52 in a late-night Monday session, retroactively legalizes West Bank outposts that were unknowingly built on private Palestinian land. It paves the way for Israel to recognize some 4,000 illegally built settler homes. Palestinian owners will be compensated financially or with other land. The law will be challenged before Israel’s High Court.

Palestinians have reacted harshly to the measure.

“Nobody can legalize the theft of the Palestinian lands. Building settlements is a crime, building settlements is against all international laws,” Palestinian Authority Tourism and Antiquities Minister Rula Maayaa said Tuesday. “I think it is time now for the international community to act concretely to stop the Israelis from these crimes.”

Turkish Minister Of Culture and Tourism Nabi Avci (R) and Israeli Tourism Minister Yariv Levin (L) shake hands during their meeting at the Israeli tourism conference in Tel Aviv on February 7, 2017. (AFP/Gil Cohen-Magen)
Turkish Minister Of Culture and Tourism Nabi Avci (R) and Israeli Tourism Minister Yariv Levin (L) during their meeting at the Israeli tourism conference in Tel Aviv on February 7, 2017. (AFP/Gil Cohen-Magen)

Amman slammed the “provocative” legislation as a measure that could “lead the region into further violence and torpedo any peace effort,” Information Minister Mohamed Momani said, quoted by the official news agency Petra.

“The Israeli government by virtue of being an occupying power is required to maintain the status quo,” Momani said. The legislation is liable to “inflame the feelings of Muslims and drag the region to more violence and extremism.”

Meanwhile, Turkey’s foreign ministry said Ankara “strongly condemn[ed] Israeli Parliament’s adoption of a law that gives approval to various settlements consisting of 4,000 units built on the private property of the Palestinians.”

The ministry’s statement, issued as Turkish and Israeli officials met in Tel Aviv to boost newly re-established diplomatic ties, said the Israeli policy was “unacceptable” as it contradicted UN Security Council resolutions and was “destroying the basis for the two-state solution.”

The controversial Regulation Law has been condemned by the previous US administration of Barack Obama, the European Union, the United Nations and Israel’s own attorney general, Avichai Mandelblit, who has warned that it marks the first time Israeli legislation explicitly affirms government support for unauthorized settlements, and would openly curtail property rights of Palestinians in the West Bank in a way that contravenes the protections granted to occupied populations under the Fourth Geneva Convention.

The Palestinians have condemned the law as an attempt to “legalize theft” of Palestinian land.

“This is an escalation that would only lead to more instability and chaos. It is unacceptable. It is denounced and the international community should act immediately,” said Nabil Abu Rudeineh, a spokesman for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

AFP and AP contributed to this report

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