Israeli house passes ban on settlement boycotts

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JERUSALEM (AP) -- Israel's parliament has approved a contentious law against boycotts targeting Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

The vote late Monday was 47 to 36 in favor of the law. It allows settlers or settlement-based businesses to sue Israelis who promote boycotts of settlements for damages.

Backers of the law insists it is necessary to protect Israelis living in the West Bank. Opponents charge it is an anti-democratic attempt to curtail freedom of speech.

Palestinians, backed by much of the world, consider the settlements illegal encroachment on land they claim for a state.

The law is one of a string of initiatives by hawkish Israelis to limit activities they consider anti-Israel.