Israel approves largest West Bank land confiscation in three decades, rights group says


The Israeli government has approved the seizure of a large swath of land in the occupied West Bank, the largest since the 1993 Oslo Accords that set the path to peace between Israel and the Palestinians, according to the Israeli rights group Peace Now.

The Israeli military’s Civil Administration, which administers civilian affairs in the West Bank, issued an announcement on June 25 turning the area into state land, according to a press release. document From the body, but the official notice was not published until Wednesday, Peace Now said.

The declaration includes a 1,270-hectare (3,138-acre) section of the Jordan Valley in the eastern West Bank near Jericho, according to the document issued by the Civil Administration.

Peace Now, an Israeli rights group that monitors illegal Israeli settlement expansion, criticized the move in statement Palestinian officials said on Wednesday that the land grab makes it difficult to establish a “Palestinian state alongside Israel.”

The group noted that the latest announcement came on the heels of several previous ones that made this year the largest ever in terms of Israeli land seizures in the Palestinian territories, according to data it has collected dating back to 1993.

According to the report, Declaring the land as state property This is one of the primary ways Israel maintains control over the occupied territories. Once land is designated as state land, Israel does not recognize it as Palestinian-owned at all. CNN reached out to a spokesperson for the Israeli Civil Administration for comment on this specific claim by Peace Now, but has yet to receive a response.

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Separately, Israel’s Supreme Planning Council, the government body responsible for giving the green light to new housing construction in parts of the West Bank, said Monday it would move to approve thousands of new housing units in dozens of Israeli settlements. According to Peace now.

Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, who also holds a Defense Ministry post with significant control over civilian affairs in the occupied West Bank, celebrated the move in a press statement on Wednesday. mail On X.

“Building a good country and thwarting the establishment of a Palestinian state. The Planning and Building Authority is meeting this morning to approve the construction of more than 5,000 housing units,” he wrote, using an acronym for the Higher Planning Council.

Smotrich spoke about preventing the occupied West Bank from becoming part of an independent Palestinian state, according to a leaked audio recording of a speech he gave last June.

Israel drew a wave of condemnation on Sunday after its finance minister announced plans to legally recognize five unauthorized Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank.

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