Israeli ministers are to vote Sunday on a proposed legislation to allow purchases of Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank which is poised for imminent annexation.
A “yes” vote will amend a law that has, until now, only allowed Jordanians and Arabs to buy property in the territory, which Israel occupied in 1967, Israeli daily Ha’aretz reported.
The bill carries an explanatory note, which argues against the fact that an Israeli cannot buy land there as being “unacceptable.”
Israel has been trying to annex the West Bank ever since occupying it through various means. It has been propping up 230 settlements, which now house more than half a million Israelis, demolishing Palestinian structures under different excuses, and refusing construction permits to Palestinians.
Last week, a United Nations expert said Israel has taken measures in violation of international law that would allow it to formally annex the West Bank.
“After years of creeping Israeli de facto annexation of the large swathes of the West Bank through settlement expansion, the creation of closed military zones and other measures, Israel appears to be getting closer to enacting legislation that will formally annex parts of the West Bank,” U.N. legal expert Michael Lynk said.
Separately, Ha'aretz said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had eased restrictions on visits by members of the Knesset to Haram al-Sharif, known to Israelis as Temple Mount.
The extremely sensitive landmark is located on al-Aqsa Mosque’s compound, Islam’s third holiest site, and visits by senior Israeli officials in the past have sparked massive protests and subsequent deadly crackdowns.
On Sunday, far-right agriculture minister Uri Ariel became the first Israeli lawmaker to visit Haram al-Sharif since the hardline premier relaxed the restrictions.
Tel Aviv is accused of trying to tamper with the status quo at the compound in order to "Judaize" the site.
The Israeli military enforces severe restrictions on Muslim visits to the site but allows extremist settlers to regularly visit the compound under military escort.
According to Yeraeh, an Israeli organization which promotes such visits, more than 22,000 Israelis have visited Haram al-Sharif since last September, the highest number since the 1967 occupation.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
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