Jerusalem (AsiaNews) - As of yesterday at least 400 hectares of land in the area of Gevaot of the occupied West Bank have been expropriated, and have been declared "state land" that will strengthen the illegal Israeli settlements of Etzion, near Bethlehem. According to activists of Peace Now this is the largest land seizure in the last 30 years.
Israeli radio has stated that this seizure
is in response to last
June's kidnapping and murder of three young
In reality plans for the Gevaot settlement date back to 2000. Last year the government launched a tender for the construction of 1,000 homes.
Peace Now, which campaigns
against illegal Israeli settlements and
for peace with Palestinians, says that the Palestinians owners - who grow olive trees
in the area - have 45 days to appeal. The
hopes of seeing their rights
recognized are slim.
The policy of illegal settlements has never stopped-while being one of the conditions for peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians. By occupying the Palestinians' lands, Israel makes it difficult to establish a Palestinian homeland that has territorial continuity.
At present there are about 500 thousand Israelis in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, with hundreds of settlements that are
illegal under international law.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has called on Israel to stop the appropriation: "This decision - said his spokesman - will lead to more instability. This will only inflame the situation after the war in Gaza".