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Knesset holds preliminary vote on settlement legalization

The Knesset votes on a bill to legalize unlawful West Bank settlements in a bid to prevent the court-ordered demolition of the Amona outpost north of Ramallah.

Fifty-eight vote in favor, 50 against the first version of the bill.

MKs Yoav Kisch (Likud), Shuli Moalem-Refaeli (Jewish Home) and Bezalel Smotrich (Jewish Home) have presented their arguments for the bills, with Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked closing the defense with an attack on left-wing “hypocrisy.”

From the opposition, Zionist Union leader Isaac Herzog says: “What was done here is theft in broad daylight. They took private lands, entirely contravening international law.”

In the final address of the debate, Housing Minister Yoav Galant (Kulanu) says the law won’t be advanced by his party if it harms the High Court, and says most of these settlers built on these lands “innocently, with the support and approval of the government.”

Galant is met with screaming from the opposition.

— Marissa Newman

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