Tue. Oct 15 2019

Israeli gov’t okays legalizing Jordan Valley outpost

Sep 16 2019

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The Israeli government on Sunday approved its proposal to legalize an outpost in the Jordan Valley two days before the Knesset election after its attorney general agreed to retract his opposition.

However, the final approval for legalizing the outpost will be made by the next government.

"The government will decide on kick-starting the process of establishing the settlement of Mevo'ot Yeriho in the Jordan Valley," said Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu at the cabinet meeting, which was held in the illegal outpost.

"The final approval will of course be given upon the formation of the new government," he said.

During the meeting, Netanyahu said that he had been informed during the past 24 hours that there is high probability that the US administration's Middle East peace plan would be released immediately after Tuesday's election, and therefore the decision to approve the establishment of the outpost was significant.

In response, the government’s attorney general, Avichai Mendelblit, who at first opposed the decision, said he had changed his opinion after being made privy to this "new information."

A few days ago, Netanyahu announced during a news conference that US president Donald Trump's peace plan is expected to be released several days after the election and said he intended to annex the Jordan Valley and the Dead Sea if he won the election.

Last week, Netanyahu also announced he intends to approve Mevo'ot Yeriho's legalization. He was later informed by Mendelblit this could not be done with a transitional government.

In his official legal opinion, published Thursday, Mendelblit said there is no urgency to approve the outpost two days before the election, and therefore a transitional government does not have the authority to make such a decision.

Mendelblit added that the timing of the decision "raises concerns that the proposal stems from, or at least appears to stem from, considerations of the upcoming election."

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