Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Egypt rejects Israeli approval of bill legalizing West Bank outposts

The Egyptian Foreign Ministry rejected Tuesday Israel's recent approval of a draft law that legalizes Israeli outposts in the West Bank.

"Egypt shows deep concern over the bill that paves the way for legalizing Israeli settlements which have been steadily expanding," said Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid in a statement.

The spokesman added that the bill's approval and other similar steps to legalize its outposts in the occupied territories are "counteractive to the peace process."

The controversial Formalization Bill was approved Sunday by an Israeli legislative ministerial committee to retroactively legalize outposts in the West Bank. The bill is yet to be referred to the Knesset, Israel's parliament, for approval.

Israel, which has a US-brokered peace treaty with Egypt since 1979, is blamed by the international community for the deadlock of the Middle East peace process due to its settlement expansion policy that is rejected even by its closest ally, the United States.

"We are deeply concerned about the advancement of legislation that would allow for the legalization of illegal outposts located on private Palestinian land," US State Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau said on Monday, describing the move as "a troubling precedent."

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