Netanyahu in high stakes gamble with new settlement bill

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By Maayan Lubell
| JERUSALEM

JERUSALEM Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s support for a bill that would legalize Israeli settlement homes on private Palestinian land in the West Bank is seen in Israel as another feint in a power struggle within his ruling right-wing coalition.

But critics in Israel and abroad who are alarmed by the legislation fear Netanyahu’s machinations aimed at appeasing political partners could have grave consequences internationally, even if the law does not survive likely court challenges.

Preliminary approval for the bill granted by parliament on Monday has alarmed the United States, European Union and United Nations, raising the possibility of some sort of U.N. resolution before President Barack Obama’s term is up in January.

Israeli officials are also concerned that the bill could provide grounds for prosecution by the…

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