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Israel appropriates massive tracts of West Bank land

The Israeli military-run Civil Administration have announded a land appropriation of 3,799 dunams (988 acres ) of West Bank land between the Etzion settlement bloc and Jerusalem. Anti-settlement activists, Peace Now, say this is the biggest seizure in 30 years

RT reports – ‘Around 400 hectares of land in the Etzion settlement area near the town of Bethlehem were declared “state land, on the instructions of the political echelon” by the Civil Administration on Sunday. Israel Radio said that announcement was made in response to the killing of three Jewish teens in June by Hamas militants in the same area.

The building of a major settlement in the area, known as Gevaot, has been on the cards since 2000 and last year the Israeli government invited tenders for the building of 1,000 houses on the site.

Peace Now, an anti-settlement group that opposes Israel’s activities in the West Bank, said the land seizure was the largest announced by Israel since the 1980s.

They say the land appropriation is meant to turn a site where 10 Jewish families are living next to a Jewish seminary into a permanent settlement.

Anyone with ownership claims has 45 days to appeal; a local mayor said that Palestinians owned tracts of land there, which they used to harvest olives.

“Peace Now views this declaration as proof that Prime Minister Netanyahu does not aspire for a new ‘Diplomatic Horizon’, but rather he continues to put obstacles to the two-state vision and promote a one-state solution,” the group said.’