Israel Palestine Conflict

Israel appropriates 650 acres of West Bank land near big settlement

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Israel appropriated on Thursday several tracts of land near a major Jewish settlement in the occupied West Bank, but a source briefed on the decision told Reuters that there was no plan for construction there.

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An announcement by the Civil Administration, part of Israel’s defense ministry, said the tracts amounted to 2,640 dunams, or 652 acres. The Israeli source said they would now be designated part of Maale Adumim settlement, east of Jerusalem.

The West Bank is among territories captured by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war and where Palestinians, with international support, seek statehood. Most world powers deem the settlements illegal. Israel disputes that, citing historical claims to the West Bank and describing it as a security bulwark.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s religious-nationalist government has promoted the settlements, creating friction with the United States even as the allies close ranks over Israel’s war with Palestinian Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip.

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On February 24, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Washington deemed West Bank settlements inconsistent with international law, reverting to a US position that had been overturned by the administration of then-President Donald Trump.

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