Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas.
Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas. AP Photo/Kamil Zihnioglu

West Bank 'wildcat' vote condemned

MAHMOUD Abbas, Palestinian Authority President, has condemned as an aggression against the Palestinian people a vote in Israel's Knesset to legalise thousands of "wildcat” settlement homes on private land in the West Bank.

After more than a week of parliamentary discussion, members of the Israeli Parliament voted on the controversial legislation, retroactively recognising 4000 Jewish homes in 54 "outpost” settlements late on Monday night.

Speaking after a meeting with the French President Francois Hollande in Paris on Tuesday, Mr Abbas (pictured) said the bill was "contrary to international law”.

"This is an aggression against our people that we will be opposing in international organisations,” he said. "What we want is peace ... but what Israel does is to work towards one state based on apartheid.”

The bill was narrowly passed by 60 votes to 52 in the 120-member Knesset in Monday's vote. During a heated debate, cabinet minister Ofir Akunis said: "We are voting tonight on our right to the land. We are voting tonight on the connection between the Jewish people and its land. This whole land is ours. All of it.”

The vote is the first time Israel has applied its civil law to land it recognises as Palestinian-owned in the West Bank. It is the latest in a string of pro-settlement steps the state has undertaken since US President Donald Trump took office. - INM

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