Israeli daily, Haaretz, has reported that, in 2012, Israel confiscated 8000 Dunams of Palestinian lands in the occupied West Bank for the benefit of its settlements in areas referred to by Tel Aviv as “State Lands”.Haaretz said that expanding the boundaries of settlements in the West Bank and Jerusalem prepares for the next phase of construction bids, and added that the annexation of the lands was made under orders made by the commander of the Central Command of the Israeli Military.
The 8000 Dunams that were illegally annexed to the settlements in 2012 are equal in size to Bat Yam in the center of the country, Haaretz said, and added that settlements in the West Bank currently occupy 538.303 Dunams (133.017 Acres).
According to Haaretz, the commander of the Central Command “took into consideration issues regarding avoiding legal battles with the Palestinians” by annexing West Bank lands that are not owned by the Palestinians, and are regarded to be “State Lands”.
The expansion was made in a number of settlements, including Ofra, Bet El, Shilo, Karnie Shomron, Ma’ale Adumim, Kokhav Ya’akov, Borkan, Elkana, Rehalim and Neve Nahima.
The term “State Lands” is used by Israel to justify its settlement activities in occupied Palestine despite the fact that it acknowledges building and expanding settlements on privately owned Palestinian lands.
Israel’s settlements in the West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem, even those regarded by Israel to be built on state lands, violate International Law and the Fourth Geneva Conventions to which Israel is a signatory.