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Israel remaps 15,000 acres in West Bank: Report

A Palestinian protester points at the nearby Israeli settlement of Hallamish during clashes with Israeli forces following a march against Palestinian land confiscation in the village of Nabi Saleh near the city of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank on April 15, 2016. ©AFP

A report says Israel remapped as much as 15,000 acres of occupied Palestinian land in 2015 as an attempt at justifying settlement expansion inside the re-designated areas.

Reporting on Tuesday, Israeli daily Ha’aretz said the move was taken to put a legal face on construction activities within the territory Israel had previously claimed as its own.

It also called attention to the sheer size of the project, saying the regime had remapped only 5,000 acres in 2014, and slightly over 3,000 acres in the year that preceded it.

Commenting on the matter, settlement researcher Dror Etkes said, “It’s important to realize that these mapping efforts are directed almost exclusively deep into the West Bank and to settlements that are far from the settlement blocs, and to areas designated earlier by Israel as fire zones, even though it’s obvious that they comprise part of the pool of land that Israel is gradually handing over to settlements.”

Israel was established in 1948, when it occupied Palestinian land along with expanses of other Arab territories during full-fledged military operations. The occupied lands also include Lebanon’s Shebaa Farms and Syria’s Golan Heights.

In 1967, Israel occupied the Palestinian territories of the West Bank, including East al-Quds (Jerusalem), and the Gaza Strip.

It later annexed the West Bank and East al-Quds in a move never recognized by the international community. Tel Aviv withdrew from Gaza in 2005, but has been keeping the territory under a crippling siege and regular deadly offensives.

More than half a million Israelis live in over 230 illegal settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East al-Quds (Jerusalem).

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