Knesset Committee Unanimous for Amona Bill

YERUSHALAYIM -
Jewish Home party chairman Naftali Bennett. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)
Jewish Home party chairman Naftali Bennett. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

The Ministerial Committee for Legislation, the clearing house for bills in the Knesset, defied Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s express wish to postpone a vote on the Amona bill, and approved it unanimously on Sunday.

Netanyahu sought delay of the vote so as not to prejudice a High Court response to the state’s request for seven months to fashion a solution to the problem of Amona and other outposts in Yehudah and Shomron, which were built on Palestinian-claimed land and face court-ordered demolition.

However, members of the committee, chaired by Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Jewish Home), said they could wait no longer to move on the issue after months of back and forth on it.

Before the vote, a heated confrontation took place between Netanyahu and the bill’s sponsors at a meeting of coalition leaders. Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman accused Jewish Home chairman Naftali Bennett of imperiling the entire Jewish presence in Yehudah and Shomron, The Times of Israel said.

Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit again opposed the proposal, arguing that it contravenes international law and would never be accepted by the High Court.

Nevertheless, the vote went ahead, and Shaked hailed it as an answer to the endless legal petitions aimed at dismantling Jewish communities in Yehudah and Shomron.

“This government will normalize the settlements in Yehudah and Shomron, even against efforts by the far-left to engage in ‘lawfare.’ The way to influence [policy] on the map of Yehudah and Shomron is through elections, not through the improper means utilized by these groups today.”

The bill, officially known as the Regulation Law, can now be sent on to the Knesset plenum with coalition backing for a first reading.