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Israel seizes privately-owned Palestinian land for road expansion

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
This file picture shows the occupied West Bank town of al-Ram overlooking the construction site for the Israeli settlement of Neve Ya’akov, with the separation wall in between. (Photo by European Pressphoto Agency)

Israeli authorities have decided to confiscate thousands of square meters of private Palestinian land near occupied Jerusalem al-Quds to expand a settlement in blatant violation of international law and defiance of United Nations Security Council resolutions condemning the Tel Aviv regime’s land expropriation and settlement expansion policies in the occupied territories.

The officials said they had approved the expropriation of 47 dunams (47,000 square meters) of private Palestinian land in al-Ram town, which lies northeast of Jerusalem al-Quds, adding that the move is aimed at constructing a new road to expand a military checkpoint installed on the main road of the town.

The mayor of al-Ram, Raqi Ghazawneh, said the land seizure is not the first of its kind, explaining that the checkpoint was originally established on illegally seized Palestinian land.

He said a meeting was held on Tuesday with the owners of the land, where they vowed to file an objection against the Israeli arbitrary measures.

Ghazawneh further noted that nearly 400,000 Palestinians are currently living in al-Ram, saying they are suffering from harsh economic conditions because of the separation wall that snakes across the occupied Palestinian territories and isolates large swathes of them from areas where Israeli settlers are concentrated.

This picture shows the Israeli settlement of Pisgat Ze'ev (L) behind its controversial separation wall on the outskirts of East Jerusalem al-Quds on September 27, 2018. (Photo by AFP)

Less than a month before US President Donald Trump took office, the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 2334, calling on Israel to “immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem” al-Quds.

About 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 illegal settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds.

Palestinians want the West Bank as part of a future independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem al-Quds as its capital.

The last round of Israeli-Palestinian talks collapsed in 2014. Among the major sticking points in those negotiations was Israel’s continued settlement expansion on the Palestinian territories.

Trump backtracked on Washington’s support for a “two-state solution” earlier this year, saying he would support any solution favored by both sides.

“Looking at two-state or one-state, I like the one that both parties like. I’m very happy with the one both parties like. I can live with either one,” the US president said during a joint press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Washington on February 15.

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