Two Israeli rights groups have asked the country’s Supreme Court to overturn a new law legalising West Bank settlements.

Adalah and the Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Centre have appealed to the high court, asking it to block implementation of the bill passed in parliament this week that sets out to legalise dozens of settler outposts built on privately owned Palestinian land.

The measure sparked heavy criticism both in Israel and abroad, with critics saying it amounts to legalised land theft.

They also said it is legally problematic as it seeks to impose Israeli law on occupied land that is not sovereign Israeli territory.

Proponents claim the communities, some decades old and home to thousands of people, were built in “good faith” and quietly backed by several Israeli governments.