Five EU nations complain to Israel over land grab

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ISRAELI SETTLEMENT – An Israeli soldier walks through the Gevaot settlement in the Gush Etzion settelment bloc near the West Bank city of Bethlehem Photo: ABIR SULTAN/EPA

 

Published by The Telegraph

Five EU nations have lodged a joint protest to the Israeli Government amid mounting criticism over Israel’s seizure of almost 1,000 acres of Palestinian-claimed land.

Five EU nations have lodged a joint protest to the Israeli Government amid mounting criticism over Israel’s seizure of almost 1,000 acres of Palestinian-claimed land.

Ambassadors of Britain, France, Italy and Spain and Germany’s deputy ambassador formally complained to Israel’s National Security Adviser Yossi Cohen on Tuesday about the government’s plan to seize land in the Gush Etzion area close to Bethlehem for the construction of what is expected to be Israel’s largest settlement in 30 years.

“We gave him a clear message that it was a very bad decision and with terrible timing and that we hope it will be reversed,” one European diplomat told Haaretz.

Mr Cohen reportedy told the ambassadors there were heavy political pressures within the government to speed up construction in the settlements.

Israel’s announcement of the land confiscation order was said to be in response to the killing of three Jewish youths in the area in June. Their deaths led to the 50-day war in Gaza, in which over 2,100 Palestinians and 73 Israelis died.

A US state department spokesperson has described the land confiscation as “counterproductive”.

Last week Palestinian families received eviction orders from Israeli occupation forces, warning that their houses would be demolished in preparation of a land seizure.

Israeli authorities have given the Palestinians and human rights organizations 45 days to submit their legal objections to the decision in Israeli courts.

Palestinian negotiators insist that Israeli settlement building in the West Bank must stop before any comprehensive peace agreement can be reached.

International law views the West Bank and East Jerusalem as “occupied territories” and considers all Jewish settlement building on the land illegal.

There are now 350,000 Israelis living in more than 100 Jewish-only settlements built since Israel seized the West Bank and East Jerusalem in 1967. They are illegal under international law and seen as an obstacle to the creation of a Palestinian state.

 

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