Israel announces major land grab in West Bank — RT World News

Minister Keogh pledged to continue supporting the settlement movement, which is illegal under international law

The Israeli government has designated nearly 2,000 acres in the West Bank as state-owned land in a move described by human rights groups as the largest seizure of occupied Palestinian land in decades.

The expansion of Jewish settlements in the West Bank is illegal under international law. In 2016, the United Nations Security Council described them as “A major obstacle to the vision of two states living side by side in peace and security.”

However, Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich said that the announcement of state-owned lands in the Jordan Valley on Friday amounted to… “An important and strategic issue.”

“While there are those in Israel and the world who seek to undermine our right to Judea and Samaria and the country in general, we are strengthening the settlement movement by working hard and strategically throughout the country.” Smotrich said in a statement, according to The Times of Israel.

According to local media, the designation of the plots of land as Israeli paves the way for the construction of homes for settlers, as well as commercial development.

The Israeli settlement watchdog, Peace Now, described this announcement as the largest since the Oslo Accords in 1993, adding that “The year 2024 represents the peak in the extent of state land declarations.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government gave the green light to build more than 3,400 new settlement homes this month, drawing further criticism from the United Nations and the Palestinian Authority.

“The West Bank is already in crisis. However, settler violence and settlement-related abuses have reached shocking new levels, and risk eliminating any practical possibility of establishing a viable Palestinian state. Volker Türk, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said in his report to the Security Council on March 8.

Smotrich said in February that settlement expansion is a legitimate response to Palestinian terrorist attacks. “Our enemies know that any damage to us will lead to more construction, more development, and more control over all parts of the country.” He wrote on X (formerly Twitter).

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