KEEP YOUR EYE ON THE BALL: Israel announces largest seizure of Palestinian land since 1967
Israel announces 50 new settler homes, land seizure
June 30, 2009
Israel on Monday approved construction of an initial 50 new homes at a West Bank settlement and announced plans to expropriate West Bank land between Jerusalem and the Dead Sea shore.
The decisions drew immediate criticism from Palestinians as Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak flew to New York for talks with George Mitchell, President Barack Obama’s Middle East envoy, to narrow a rift with Israel’s key ally over its settlement projects. [Obama, like his Middle East envoy, is a Zionist agent. For proof of this, see ZioBama at the 800lb Gorilla. Washington's 'rift' with Israel is little more than theatre -- 800]
A spokesman for Israel’s Civil Administration, which reports to Barak and is involved in both moves, said it had placed ads in the Arabic al-Quds newspaper on Friday inviting Palestinians who object to the move to file appeals within 45 days.
“The land in question includes a strip along the shores of the Dead Sea that emerged over the years as the water receded due to shrinkage,” the spokesman said.
He confirmed that some of it was fit for construction.
The Defense Ministry also presented to Israel’s Supreme Court on Monday plans to relocate settlers from Migron, an outpost built in the West Bank without Israeli government permission, to the settlement of Adam, north of Jerusalem.
There are plans for another 1,400 housing units at this site, Israel’s anti-settlement group Peace Now told the court.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas [installed by Israel to suppress the resistance] reiterated his refusal to restart stalled peace talks with Israel unless the Jewish state halted settlement activity.
“We won’t accept the continuation of settlements,” he said in the West Bank city of Ramallah.
Palestinians have been lobbying Washington to pressure Israel to halt land seizures and settlement expansion.
According to the ads in al-Quds, the land slated for expropriation totals 139 sq km (54 sq miles). It includes plots of land near the major West Bank settlement of Maale Adumim, the spokesman said, without giving further details.
“This would be the largest area of land ever confiscated by Israel in one go since 1967. We will appeal against this decision,” said Hatem Abdel-Qader, Palestinian Authority Minister for Jerusalem Affairs.
Maale Adumim is the largest settlement in the West Bank and one of three blocs that Israel wants to keep under any future deal with Palestinians in a future trade-off of land for peace.
Israel is trying to reach a deal with Washington on West Bank settlement activity, which President Obama wants stopped completely in an attempt to revive stalled peace talks aimed at establishing a Palestinian state.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said he would not allow the building of new settlements but would allow construction in existing communities, under what Israel calls “natural growth.” His refusal to fully halt settlement activity has sparked a rare dispute between Israel and its main ally. [Again, this 'dispute' is stage managed and intended entirely for domestic consumption. As Israeli FM Avigdor Lieberman said recently, the US will 'accept any Israeli policy decision' -- 800]
Barak meets Mitchell on Tuesday in New York in a bid to bridge differences with Washington over settlements.
Some 500,000 Israelis live among 2.5 million Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, land Israel captured [unlawfully seized] in the 1967 Middle East war.
In an apparent attempt to reduce friction with Washington, Netanyahu endorsed in a speech this month the establishment of a Palestinian state, but said it should be demilitarized and would have limited sovereignty. Palestinians rejected his terms.
The exposure of new dry land by the Dead Sea over the past 20 years may worsen the dispute. The spokesman said some of land slated for expropriation was fit for construction purposes.
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