Israel publicizes largest West Bank land seizure since 1993 | EUROtoday

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Israel’s far-right finance minister, Bezalel Smotrich, introduced the seizure of 10 sq. kilometers (3.8 sq. miles) of Palestinian territory within the West Bank on Friday. The transfer marks the one largest land seizure by the Israeli authorities for the reason that 1993 Oslo accords, in response to Peace Now, a settlement watchdog group.

“While there are those in Israel and the world who seek to undermine our right over the Judea and Samaria area and the country in general,” Smotrich stated Friday, referring to the territory by its biblical title, “we are promoting settlement through hard work and in a strategic manner all over the country.”

Israeli settlements within the West Bank are thought of unlawful beneath worldwide legislation. Still, Israel has used land orders just like the one issued Friday to achieve management over 16 p.c of Palestinian-controlled lands within the West Bank. The newly seized space contains parcels within the Jordan Valley and between the settlements of Maale Adumim and Keidar.

The announcement got here as Secretary of State Antony Blinken landed in Tel Aviv for talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about the way forward for the struggle in Gaza. Blinken’s arrival adopted conferences in Cairo with a number of Arab leaders, and amid calls from Democratic senators for President Biden to determine a “bold, public framework” for a two-state resolution that acknowledges a “nonmilitarized Palestinian state.”

Friday’s land order is especially problematic for the prospect of a two-state resolution, specialists say.

“If Israel confiscates land around Jerusalem, all the way to the Dead Sea, there will be no future for a Palestinian capital in East Jerusalem,” stated Hamza Zubiedat, a land rights activist for the Ramallah-based Ma’an Development Center. “This is where a Palestinian capital was supposed to be located, according to the American and European talks.”

The land switch will even minimize throughout the West Bank, dividing the north and south.

“If the Israelis annex this area near Maale Adumim, it will be a catastrophe for Palestinians who live in the south,” Zubiedat stated. “Palestinian traders, especially in the south, will be cut off, and it will become impossible to have any independent Palestinian ways of life.”

Israeli and Palestinian settlements

within the West Bank

Area A: Under full Palestinian management

Area B: Administered by Palestinian

Authority however Israeli safety presence

Area C: Under full Israeli management

1949 armistice

Green Line

Israeli and Palestinian settlements within the West Bank

Area A:

Under full Palestinian


Area B:

Administered by


Authority however Israeli

safety presence

Area C:

Under full Israeli


1949 armistice

Green Line

More than 40 p.c of the West Bank is beneath the management of Israeli settlers, in response to the Israel-based rights group B’Tselem, and greater than half-a-million Jewish residents now dwell within the West Bank. Israel’s authorities has additionally used incentive packages to maneuver Jewish residents into West Bank settlements, the place greater than 200 settlements and unofficial outposts have fractured the Palestinian territory and displaced Palestinian residents. In current years, the Housing Ministry has provided sponsored flats within the West Bank by way of a lottery system.

Palestinians have little capacity to cease the land transfers. After the 1967 struggle, Israel issued a navy order that stopped the method of land registration throughout the West Bank. Now households lack the paperwork to show that they’ve personal possession over their land. And tax information, the one different proof of West Bank property rights, aren’t accepted by Israeli authorities.

In June, the Knesset waived a long-standing authorized precedent that required the prime minister and the protection minister to log off on West Bank settlement development at each section. Smotrich enjoys near-total management over development planning and approvals within the West Bank, and permitted a document variety of settlements in 2023.

“Israel has reached the conclusion that they could get away with this huge land grab because of the lack of international action,” stated Sarit Michaeli, worldwide advocacy lead at B’Tselem. “There have been individual economic U.S. sanctions placed on violent settlers, but the greater violence of the occupation is this colossal land theft.”

Smotrich, a member of Netanyahu’s right-wing coalition, is a key chief in Israel’s settlement motion. Dahlia Scheindlin, an Israeli political analyst, known as the Friday land switch announcement by Smotrich a “provocation,” but in addition the continuation of his pro-settler ideological venture. “He entered the government with one overriding purpose: to annex all land conquered in 1967 and extend permanent Jewish sovereignty everywhere, no matter how and when it has to happen,” Scheindlin stated. “The timing and provocation ahead of Blinken’s visit is a bonus.”

The Biden administration introduced sanctions on two West Bank settler outposts earlier this month, the primary use of such financial restrictions on Israeli outposts. While West Bank settlements are licensed by the Israeli authorities, outposts are thought of unlawful beneath Israeli legislation.

Sam Granados and Andrew Van Dam contributed to this report.