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Israel annuls law that banned four occupied West Bank settlements

Israeli parliament has repealed legislation that ordered the evacuation of four illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank. 

Tuesday’s move is one of the first by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s far-right coalition.

The original law, passed in 2005, mandated the evacuation of four illegal Jewish settlements in the northern West Bank along with Israel’s disengagement from Gaza. 

The repeal would allow Jewish residents to return to these settlements on condition of approval by the Israeli military.

Since the 1967 war, Israel has established around 140 settlements on land Palestinians see as the core of a future state.

Besides the authorised settlements, groups of settlers have built scores of outposts without government permission.

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Most world powers deem settlements built in the territory Israel seized in the 1967 war as illegal under international law and their expansion as an obstacle to peace, since they eat away at land the Palestinians claim for a future state.

The vote came as Netanyahu’s government is pushing ahead with a separate plan to overhaul the country’s judicial system. Netanyahu’s allies claim the courts have too much power in the legislative process and that the Supreme Court is biased against settlers. 

Critics say the overhaul would upend the country’s delicate system of checks and balances and push Israel toward authoritarianism.

Why is Israel trying to dilute 2005 law that protected Palestinian land?

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