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Israel to confiscate more Palestinian land for West Bank settlement expansion

The Israeli settlement of Maale Adumim in the occupied West Bank on the outskirts of Jerusalem al-Quds is pictured on November 26, 2019. (Photo by AFP)

Israeli authorities are planning to confiscate dozens of acres of private Palestinian land in the northwestern part of the occupied West Bank, as the Tel Aviv regime goes ahead with land expropriation and settlement construction policies in violation of international law and UN Security Council resolutions.

Anti-settlement activist Mohammed Abu al-Sheikh was quoted by Wafa news agency as saying on Sunday that Israeli officials have drawn up a plan to expand a road near Alfei Menashe settlement, which lies south of the city of Qalqiliya, as a prelude to seizure of new Palestinian land for the purpose of settlement expansion.

Sheikh added that the plan will result in the seizure of dozens of acres of private Palestinian land.

On December 1, Israel's Minister for Military Affairs Naftali Bennett announced a controversial plan to construct a new Israeli settlement in the place of a wholesale market complex in the Old City of al-Khalil (Hebron).

According to the Israeli minister, the planned project would “double” the number of Israeli settlers in the city, which is a flash point of clashes between Palestinians and settlers.

Israeli Hebrew-language daily newspaper Israel Hayom reported on November 28 that Israeli officials were planning to construct thousands of new settler units near Jerusalem al-Quds.

The report added that the so-called Israeli ministry of construction and housing was working on a project on the territory of the abandoned Qalandiya Airport in order to expand Atarot settlement, which lies north of Jerusalem al-Quds. 

It added that the plan included the construction of 11,000 settler units on an area of nearly 600 dunams (148.2 acres), and stretched from the non-operational regional airport to Qalandiya checkpoint.

Israel Hayom added that the land was confiscated in the early 1970s by the then ruling Israeli Labor Party. The project includes digging a tunnel under the northernmost Palestinian neighborhood of Kafr Aqab in East Jerusalem al-Quds to connect the new neighborhood to the eastern flank of the occupied holy city.

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

The UN Security Council has condemned Israel’s settlement activities in the occupied territories in several resolutions.

Less than a month before US President Donald Trump took office, the United Nations Security Council in December 2016 adopted Resolution 2334, calling on Israel to “immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territories, including 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 Palestinian territories.

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