Israeli, Palestinian human rights groups to file petition against law allowing settlement

The UN Security Council passed a resolution in December stating that settlements have 'no legal validity' and demanding that Israel stop building in the West Bank, including annexed east Jerusalem. (In photo: Israeli settlements in West Bank) Photograph:( Reuters )

AFP Jerusalem, Israel Feb 08, 2017, 11.06 AM (IST)

Israeli and Palestinian human rights groups are to petition the Supreme Court on Wednesday asking it to strike down a new law allowing expropriation of private Palestinian land for Jewish settlers.

Israeli group Adalah said that it and the east Jerusalem-based 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.

It legalises dozens of wildcat outposts and thousands of settler homes in the occupied West Bank and prompted a Palestinian call for the international community to punish Israel.

The United Nations, the European Union and the Arab League strongly criticised the legislation on Tuesday, although the new administration of US President Donald Trump 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."

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.

The UN Security Council passed a resolution in December stating that settlements have "no legal validity" and demanding that Israel stop building in the West Bank, including annexed east Jerusalem.

Bishara said the new law flouted that resolution.

"The transfer of the occupying power`s civilian population into occupied territory is a war crime," she said.

(AFP)