Palestinian, European leaders lash out at Israel’s ‘legalization law’

The European Union has called upon the Israeli government not to implement the legalization law, which makes it possible to expropriate private Palestinian land in the West Bank, in favor of Jewish homes. EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini said that the law crosses a dangerous line and increases tension in the region. The EU condemnation of the Israeli law, which retroactively legalizes about 4,000 Israeli housing units built on privately owned Palestinian land in the West Bank, was one of many international condemnations that urge Israel not to implement the law. 

In Paris, French President Francois Hollande, who met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at the Elysee Palace, warned that the new law opens the way for the annexation of all Jewish settlements, while urging the Israeli government to revise the text of the law. 

“Acceleration of the settlements, which in addition were covered by a legal framework, because the Israeli parliament adopted a text, which if it is confirmed by the constitutional court, will have as a consequence the legalization of uncontrolled settlements, and would open the way to the annexation of the occupied territories – contrary to the two-state solution. I want to believe that Israel and its government can revise this text and can find, what I think is necessary, the path of balance and therefore of negotiation and dialogue,” expressed Hollande. 

During the joint press conference between the French President and his Palestinian counterpart, President Abbas accused Israel of challenging the wishes of the international community, which he claimed is a direct violation of international law. 

“In a blatant challenge against the wishes of the international community, especially the U.N. Security Council resolution number 2334, the Israeli government passed a bill yesterday in the Knesset (Israeli parliament) that legalizes stealing Palestinian private land in favor of settlers, and legalizes, retroactively, the settlements which were built on occupied Palestinian lands since 1967, including Jerusalem. This legislation is contrary to international law, and we will continue our efforts with international courts in order to protect our existence and land,” said Abbas

Britain joined the ‘international outcry’, condemning the Israeli law, while UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned that the enactment of the legalization law would have far-reaching legal implications for Israel. 

Nevertheless, during a joint press conference in Jerusalem between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Belgian counterpart Charles Michel, the Israeli leader stressed that the true obstacle to peace between Israel and the Palestinians was the persistent Palestinian refusal to recognize a Jewish state in any boundaries.  Prime Minister Netanyahu further reiterated his view that Israel was at the forefront of the battle against Islamic extremism, that the Israeli leader said was threatening the stability of the region, as well as Europe.