The Knesset (Israel’s parliament) on Tuesday approved the second and third readings of legislation that critics say will limit Palestinian access to the Israeli judicial system and pave the way for the “Judaization” of the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
The controversial legislation, which was introduced by Israel’s right-wing Jewish Home party, was approved in a vote of 56 to 48.
The law will effectively transfer jurisdiction over administrative issues related to the occupied West Bank from the Israeli Supreme Court to the Administrative Court in Jerusalem.
Critics see the legislation as another step toward the de-facto annexation of the West Bank by Israel.
The law will also prohibit human rights groups -- along with Palestinians affected by Israeli violations -- from petitioning Israel’s Supreme Court.
Roughly 600,000 Jewish Israelis currently live on more than 100 Jewish-only settlements built throughout the West Bank and East Jerusalem since Israel occupied the territories in 1967.
The Palestinians, for their part, want these areas -- along with the Gaza Strip -- for a future state of Palestine.
International law views the West Bank and East Jerusalem as "occupied territories" and considers all Jewish settlement-building activity on the land as illegal.