A picture taken on November 17, 2016 shows a general view of houses in the settlement of Ofra in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, established in the vicinity of the Palestinian village of Baytin (background). / AFP / THOMAS COEX
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Israeli far-right politicians Tuesday welcomed initial approval of a bill to legalize some 4,000 settler homes in the West Bank, calling it a step toward the annexation of most of the Palestinian territory.The bill has severely tested Netanyahu's coalition, seen as the most right-wing in Israeli history.Strong supporters of the bill, including those who outright oppose a Palestinian state, rejoiced in the initial vote and said they hoped it could lead to eventual Israeli annexation of most of the occupied West Bank.The bill's main backer, Education Minister Naftali Bennett, said Israel should tell its international allies that it was in the West Bank to stay.Most of the homes are in Israeli-approved settlements but were built on Palestinian land.Kerry said there are currently around 100 wildcat outposts in the West Bank and the bill would give retrospective Israeli approval to 54 of them.Some 400,000 Israeli settlers live in the West Bank, excluding east Jerusalem.
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