A senior Israeli lawmaker has urged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to “immediately” cancel plans to allow a group of Jews from the West Bank to enter Israel.
A parliamentary committee has also asked Netanyahu to postpone the decision until at least March, saying the “concerns of the Jewish community” are more important than the “credibility of Israel’s democratic institutions”.
The parliament’s resolution, submitted on Wednesday, asks Netanyahu to consider “imposing a one-year moratorium on the establishment of settlements in the occupied West Bank”, and to “take all necessary measures to safeguard and preserve the territorial integrity of the State of Israel and to respect the rights and freedoms of the Palestinian people”.
The parliamentary committee, which is dominated by the ultra-Orthodox party, said the decision would be a “disgraceless” breach of Israeli law.
The parliament resolution, which was submitted to Netanyahu on Tuesday, comes just days after a UN report said the settlement of Beit Hanina, which has been in the Westbank for nearly three decades, constitutes a “war crime”.
The Palestinian group which operates the settlement, Ma’ale Adumim, has rejected the UN report and the Israeli government’s stance.
Ma’aleadim also opposes the establishment in the territory of any settlement blocs, which are considered illegal under international law.
According to Ma’alot, Ma’malot is “part of a vast network of settlements built on stolen Palestinian land and built without any consideration for the Palestinian residents of the West bank”.
Israel has refused to allow the Israeli military to establish settlements in occupied territory since 1967.
Last month, Israeli authorities demolished two Israeli-run settlements in Beit She’an, a village near the WestBank city of Ramallah, and demolished a second, in the northern West Bank town of Gush Etzion, according to the Israel Police.
In response to the UN’s report, Israel’s defence minister, Moshe Yaalon, told Israeli television he believed “that the decision to demolish illegal settlements in Judea and Samaria was taken with the sole purpose of creating new illegal settlements, including Beit Samaria”.
“We cannot accept that this decision is a decision that has no moral content,” Yaalon said.
“It is a very, very dangerous decision that we must not accept”.
Israeli officials have said the move was necessary because of ongoing security concerns and fears that Israeli settlements in northern and central Israel, which have been in existence for more than a century, will become a source of terror.
A senior Israeli official told Reuters that Netanyahu had “serious reservations” about the Israeli move, adding: “It does not look good for the Israeli state.”
Israel’s cabinet is expected to vote on the resolution at a meeting in the Israeli parliament on Wednesday.