Israel approves bill to facilitate home demolitions

The Knesset (Israel’s parliament) on Wednesday evening approved the second and third readings of a bill that would — if ratified — facilitate the demolition of Palestinian homes. The readings were approved by a vote of 43 to 33. The law amends Israel’s Planning and Building Law by limiting the authority of Israeli courts to freeze demolition orders once they are issued. It also transfers enforcement of the law to a network of “regional committees”, which are granted the right to impose fines on Palestinian homeowners.
Arab Knesset member Yousef Jabareen condemned the move, saying the amendments revealed the “extremist” nature of Israel’s government. “This authoritarian law represents a continuation of Israel’s policy of adopting racist and non-democratic legislation,” he said. The Israeli authorities have recently stepped up the policy of demolishing Palestinian homes on the pretext they were built without permits.

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