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Palestinian officials slam Israeli land confiscation in West Bank
Published Sunday 31/08/2014 (updated) 02/09/2014 09:51
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A general view taken on April 8, 2014 shows Israeli construction
cranes and excavators at a building site of new housing units in the
Jewish settlement of Neve Yaakov, in the northern area of East
Jerusalem (AFP/File Ahmad Gharabli)
JERUSALEM (AFP) -- Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat called for diplomatic action against Israel in response to its move to annex 4,000 dunams (1,000 acres) of Palestinian land south of Bethlehem in the West Bank on Sunday.

"The Israeli government is committing various crimes against the Palestinian people and their occupied land," Erekat told AFP.

"The international community should hold Israel accountable as soon as possible for its crimes and raids against our people in Gaza and the ongoing Israeli settlement activity in the West Bank and East Jerusalem."

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's policy of constant settlement expansion on land the Palestinians claim for a future state is deemed illegal by the European Union and an "obstacle to peace" by the United States and opposed by both.

"Today's announcement clearly represents Israel's deliberate intent to wipe out any Palestinian presence on the land and to willfully impose a de facto one-state solution," senior PLO official Hanan Ashrawi said.

Some 550,000 Israelis live among 2.4 million Palestinians in the West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem, territory that Israel captured in the 1967 Six-Day War and later annexed in a move never recognized by the international community.

One-state solution

"As far as we know, this declaration is unprecedented in its scope since the 1980s and can dramatically change the reality in the Gush Etzion and the Bethlehem areas," Peace Now said.

"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.

"By declaring another 4,000 dunams as state land, the Israeli government stabs (Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas) and the moderate Palestinian forces in the back, proving again that violence delivers Israeli concessions while nonviolence results in settlement expansion," it said.

Peace Now official Hagit Ofran told AFP that the legal basis for such land confiscation goes back to an 1858 ruling by the region's Ottoman rulers.

"We are afraid that Netanyahu will carry out a lot of expansion because of the pressure he fells from his right wing and the feeling that the (Gaza) war did not end up with many successes," he said.

Since mid-June, Israeli authorities have announced more than 1,472 new settlement homes, slated to house around 6,000 Jewish settlers, across the West Bank, including around Bethlehem.

Israeli settlements are generally built on the hills in and around Palestinian towns and villages, and critics charge they are strategically located so as to encircle them and make a contiguous Palestinian state impossible.

Ma'an staff contributed to this report.
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1 ) joefattal / USA
31/08/2014 21:25
Of course the war in Gaza didn't end up with too many successes for Israel. And of course we all know that Israel lost it and will regain by confistating more lands in the West Bank. That was predicted weeks ago. Abbas must have to much faith in Netanyahu to say that he agreed to return to the 67 lines. Israel settlements are built for defensive purposes, they are human shields for any attack on Israel, a good excuse for Israel to engage in a war. But the West Bank is not Gaza, Gaza has

2 ) JoeFattal / USA
31/08/2014 21:33
Cont....Hamas to defend it, the West Bank has Abbas to still try to dialogue with Israel for a peace deal. Talks don't achieve anything especially with Israel. Force is needed to settle issues as Hamas did in Gaza. What Israel got by force, the Palestinians have to get it back by force not negotiations. Either thay can do it, or someone else can do it for them. Netanyahu is playing with Israel exsistence in the region under-estimating the forces that are willing to defend the Palestinians.

3 ) Johnny benson / USA
31/08/2014 21:46
Why not, its all belongs to Israel.....the Arabs can take intro leave it ....

4 ) mexica / mexico
31/08/2014 22:38
illegal racist terrorist settlers

5 ) yahya abu ayyash / netherlands
31/08/2014 23:26
as a palestian i can understand they occupation, but i can? understand the agrements we sign oslo , madrid, camp-david rome etc....., Once i let them fool me as adminstration too build ilegal settelment twice? , but this must end doenst the current PA administration has any ,any thing in power too stop this foolish building off settelment in "PA territories" or are we single bound too uniliatiare agreement. THIS IS THE BIGGEST JOKE OFF CENTURY, and that we as palestians play this retarded game?

6 ) Mar / USA
01/09/2014 15:57
The I sraeli's only understand violence, so give it to them. It is ironic because neither do they understand when they are losing. Israel lost and now they are intent on losing it all.

7 ) John / US
02/09/2014 00:35
I'm not sure if it's hubris or stupidity, but Israel is bringing upon itself a fire it can't extinguish: it fights a war in Gaza that it can't win without erasing Gaza, which it can't do due to external pressure; it is one step away from a full scale revolt in West Bank; ISIL is knocking at the door, with a risk of locals joining them; neighboring states, and international community has had enough of Israel's crimes. Israel is about to hit the wall called *reality*.

8 ) Lonnie / USA
02/09/2014 03:34
They won the war so they get to do what they want.

9 ) Nur / Tunisia
02/09/2014 14:10
@7 John, I think they just like to self perpetuate the victim scenario, which unfortunately for them is now null & void.
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