Jerusalem: Israel's Supreme Court struck down the 2017 Settlements Law as unconstitutional, which had allowed the country to confiscate Palestinian lands in the occupied West Bank.
A nine-justice panel ordered to cancel the Settlements Regulations Law, under which some 4,000 settler homes constructed on privately-owned land in the West Bank could be retroactively legalized. Eight judges voted in favor of rejecting the law and one against it.
Under the controversial legislation, passed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's right-wing coalition in 2017, homes built on private Palestinian land could be retroactively legalized if the settlers did not have the knowledge of the Palestinian ownership when the construction started or if the homes were built under instruction by the state.
The law "unequally infringes on the property rights of Palestinian residents while giving preference to the proprietary interests of Israeli settlers," Chief Justice Esther Hayut wrote in the panel's ruling, todayonline.com reported.
Netanyahu's right-wing Likud party said it was "unfortunate" that the court had intervened on an important law for settlement activity and its future. It added that the party will act to pass a new version of the law.However, Netanyahu's new coalition partner, the centrist Blue and White party, said it objects the law.
The party, led by Benny Gantz, who heads the government alongside Netanyahu under a new power-sharing deal, denounced the law as 'unconstitutional and problematic.' The party vowed to make sure the Supreme Court's ruling will be implemented.
The ruling came amidst talks over Netanyahu's plan to annex parts of the West Bank. Discussions over the annexation process are due to begin on July 1.(UNI)