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Human rights groups file petition against Israel settlement law

The wildcat Jewish settlement of Mitzpe Dani was built on private Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank
Menahem KAHANA (AFP)
Palestinians have called for the international community to punish Israel over the legislation

Israeli and Palestinian rights group on Wednesday petitioned Israel's Supreme Court with a request to strike down a new law retroactively legalizing some 4,000 settler homes illegally built on private Palestinian land in the West Bank.

The Palestinians have called for the international community to punish Israel over the legislation.

Adalah said earlier that it and the Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Center would file the request on Wednesday afternoon to overturn the "dangerous" law, which was approved by the Israeli parliament late on Monday.

The United Nations, the European Union and the Arab League, along with many others strongly criticized the legislation on Tuesday, although Israeli ally the United States remained silent.

"This sweeping and dangerous law permits the expropriation of vast tracts of private Palestinian land," Adalah's lawyer Suhad Bishara said in a statement.

"It violates the property rights both of resident and refugee Palestinians."

"The transfer of the occupying power's civilian population into occupied territory is a war crime," Bishara added.

Israel's attorney general has said the law is unconstitutional and could open the country up to prosecution at the International Criminal Court, based in The Hague.

On Tuesday, Israel's Channel 2 news reported that attorney general Avichai Mandelblit would appear before the Supreme Court and argue against the law.

It was unclear whether Mandelblit would appear in person or send a representative, said the report, which did not list a date or time for the appearance.

(Staff with AFP)

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