U.S. Condemns Move to Legalize Outposts

YERUSHALAYIM (AP) -

The U.S. State Department said on Monday it was “deeply concerned about the advancement of legislation that would allow for the legalization of illegal Israeli outposts located on private Palestinian land.”

“If this law were enacted it would pave the way for the legalization of dozens of illegal outposts deep in the West Bank,” department spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau said in a briefing in Washington.

“This would represent an unprecedented and troubling step that is inconsistent with prior Israeli legal opinion and also breaks longstanding Israeli policy of not building on private Palestinian land.”

On Sunday, the Knesset ministerial committee approved a bill that, if adopted, would legalize such outposts, in including Amona, built on what the courts have determined is Palestinian land.

Trudeau also noted that Israel’s attorney-general Avichai Mandelblit has “expressed serious doubts about the constitutionality” of the proposed legislation.