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A map showing the settlement of Gevaot in the West Bank Peace Now

Israel announces massive land seizure for new West Bank settlements

It’s thought to be the biggest Israeli land seizure since the 1980s.

ISRAEL HAS CLAIMED nearly 1,000 acres of Palestinian land in the West Bank, in what is understood to be the biggest such seizure in decades.

Local authorities in the Gush Etzion area, south of Bethlehem, said the decision to establish new settlements there was a response to the killing of three Jewish teenagers there in June.

Their kidnapping and deaths sparked 50 days of violence between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza strip, which killed 2,138 Palestinians, and 68 Israelis, before an indefinite ceasefire last week.

A US State Department official has condemned the land seizure, telling Reuters it was “counterproductive to Israel’s stated goal of a negotiated two-state solution with the Palestinians.”

“We urge the government of Israel to reverse the decision,” the official added.

Peace Now, a group which opposed Israeli settlements, said authorities planned to seize 990 acres near the existing settlement of Gevaot, west of Bethlehem.

As far as we know, this declaration is unprecedented in its scope since the 1980s…

Gvaot_Map_Eng - Copy A map showing the settlement of Gevaot in the West Bank Peace Now Peace Now

Irish politicians have joined this morning in criticising the announcement.

Speaking on RTE’s Morning Ireland, Minister for Agriculture and Defence Simon Coveney said the move would “only inflame further tension in Gaza and the West Bank.”

This is not helpful. I think everybody in that region should be trying to provide some stability and focus on a lasting peace settlement…

In a statement, Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams condemned what he called “the latest Israeli land grab.”

…This is a profoundly negative and retrograde development…
It raises serious questions about the Israeli government’s commitment to peace and a negotiated two-state solution.

Read: What exactly is in the Israeli – Hamas peace agreement?>

UN chief calls for “durable peace” in Gaza after indefinite truce>

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