Regulation Law passes
Regulation Law passes Yonatan Sindel/Flash 90

Australia's main pro-Israel lobbying group criticized the Regulation Law which was passed by the Knesset this week and retroactively legalizes homes of Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria.

In a statement released Wednesday, the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council, or AIJAC, called the law a "counter-productive and unwise piece of legislation aimed at pandering to fringe constituencies at the expense of Israel's integrity and image abroad."

"The biggest barrier to peace at the moment is the Palestinian refusal to negotiate, not settlements -- which comprise just one of the contentious final status issues that must be negotiated directly between Israel and the Palestinians, and one whose importance has often been exaggerated and distorted. However, this unhelpful law seems likely to make resolving that issue more difficult when and if the Palestinians end their self-destructive boycott of the negotiating table," the statement said.

AIJAC seldom criticizes Israeli actions.

Most of Israel’s political opposition and even members of the governing coalition oppose the legislation. Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit has said he would not defend it before the Supreme Court.

"[While] the negative effects of this new law should not be exaggerated or distorted," the statement said, "AIJAC nonetheless remains concerned that it does not serve the long-term interests of Israel, including the nurturing of circumstances conducive to an eventual negotiated two-state resolution."

The statement was signed by the group's national chairman, Mark Leibler, and its executive director, Colin Rubenstein.