TIME Middle East

Israeli Parliament Gives Preliminary Approval to Bill Legalizing West Bank Settlements

A picture taken on November 3, 2016 shows a partial view of the Jewish settlement of Gilo in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem.
AHMAD GHARABLI—AFP/Getty Images A picture taken on November 3, 2016 shows a partial view of the Jewish settlement of Gilo in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem.

The vote marks a victory for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's coalition

(JERUSALEM)— Israel’s parliament has given preliminary approval to a proposal that would legalize hundreds of homes built in West Bank settlements that sit on private Palestinian land.

Wednesday’s vote marked a victory for pro-settlement nationalists in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition. The proposal was sparked by a Supreme Court order to evacuate an illegally built settlement outpost by Dec. 25.

The legislation would legalize the Amona outpost and dozens of other outposts and neighborhoods in existing settlements built on private Palestinian land. In all, an estimated 2,500 homes would be affected.

The Palestinians and international community oppose any West Bank settlements, saying they pose an obstacle to peace. The U.S. has condemned the legislation.

The bill still must pass three more votes in parliament and will likely face a legal challenge.

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