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Israeli govt fails to pass bill to renew settler law

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Tel Aviv, June 7 (Ajit Weekly News) Israel’s ruling coalition government has failed to pass a bill extending legal protections to Jewish settlers in the occupied West Bank.

The coalition, made up of eight parties with diverse ideologies, including pro-settler nationalists and Dovish parties, could not gain the majority needed to approve the bill which extends the emergency regulations with which Israel applies Israeli law to settlers, reports Xinhua news agency.

It was rejected with 58 lawmakers voting against it and 52 in favour.

Two members of the coalition voted against the bill — Mazen Ghanem with the Muslim Ra’am party and Ghaida Rinawie Zoabi with the liberal Meretz party.

They condemned the regulations as enabling an unfair legal system under which Israelis and Palestinians are subject to two separate sets of laws in the same occupied territory.

The opposition, which includes mainly right-wing parties that support the settlements, also voted against the bill, in an attempt to bring down the coalition.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, leader of the pro-settler party of Yamina, was seen leaving hastily the floor of the Knesset, or Parliament, right after the vote.

“This bill will pass. If not today then tomorrow, if not tomorrow then the day after tomorrow,” he told local media on Monday night.

“This government goes on.”

Israel has used emergency regulations that applied Israeli law to some 500,000 Jewish settlers who live in the occupied territory.

The emergency regulations, first enacted in 1967, the year in which Israel captured the West Bank in a war, will expire at the end of June unless the government passes a law to extend them.

If the regulations expire, settlers would not get social benefits, while the government, the police and other government agencies will lose their authority in the West Bank.

–Ajit Weekly News
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