The Association for Civil Rights in Israel, Yesh Din and Peace Now petitioned the High Court against the “Outpost Law” on Sunday with the support of a NIF emergency grant.
The petitioners also included 23 Palestinian local council heads and four Palestinian landowners. They requested that the High Court issue an injunction to prevent the implementation of the law until the court issues a final decision.
In the petition, the organizations warn that Israeli officials who implement the law and the legislators who voted in favor may be considered war criminals under international law if the law is implemented.
“Legislating this law is a clear act of sovereignty and thus constitutes unlawful annexation” of West Bank land, the organizations said in a statement.
The law passed in the Knesset last month despite the opposition of the Attorney General and the official legal advisers of the Knesset and the Ministry of Defense. The Attorney General made the unusual step of announcing that his office could not defend the law in court.
The law allows for retroactive legalization of land grabs by settlers who take over privately-owned Palestinian land in the West Bank.
Implementation of the law may lead to the expropriation of approximately 2,000 acres of private land and tens of thousands of acres of agricultural lands.
Many Israelis expect the High Court to overturn the law, including Likud MK Dan Meridor. Writing in Haaretz, he called the law “evil and dangerous” and said that legislators who passed it anticipate the court will reject it.