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Israel passes bill retroactively legalizing settlements

On Monday, Israel's parliament passed a controversial law retroactively legalizing Israeli settlements built on privately owned Palestinian land. The bill, which passed on a vote of 60-52, came just days after President Trump's administration warned Israel that expanding settlements "may not be helpful in achieving" peace in the Middle East.

Trump had previously indicated he would take a softer stance on settlements, which are largely condemned by the international community. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, apparently encouraged by Trump's more lenient approach, announced shortly after Trump's inauguration that he planned to build thousands of new settlements. Netanyahu reportedly alerted the Trump administration ahead of the vote Monday.

Under the law, the Palestinian land would be seized by the Israeli government, and the original owners of the land would "be compensated either with money or alternative land, even if they do not agree to give up their property," The Associated Press reported. Those in support of the bill argue it would allow "settlers to live without fear of being driven from their homes," The Guardian reported; those who oppose say it is "reckless" and "would turn the world against Israel," The Washington Post reported.

The law is already expected to face challenges from the international community and from the Israeli courts. "The chance that it will be struck down by the Supreme Court is 100 percent," Israeli defense minister Avigdor Lieberman said last week.