09/01/2014, 00.00
ISRAEL - PALESTINE
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Israel confiscates 400 acres of West Bank land for settlements

by Joshua Lapide
The motive: revenge for the killing of three young Israelis. But the plans for Gevaot settlement date back to the 2000s. Abu Mazen: After Gaza war, this decision will lead to greater instability.

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 Israelis.

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".

 

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