Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, has joined international figures in publicly denouncing Israel’s recent announcement that it will confiscate approximately 1,000 acres of Palestinian-owned land near the illegal Gush Etzion settlement area.“The seizure of such a large swathe of land risks paving the way for further settlement activity, which – as the United Nations has reiterated on many occasions – is illegal under international law and runs totally counter to the pursuit of a two-State solution,” a spokeperson was reported to comment.
Philip Luther of human rights group Amnesty International declared that ‘Israel’s strategy of illegally confiscating land for settlements in the West Bank must stop once and for all’. He noted that the move amounts to the largest land seizure in the West Bank since the 1980s.
According to the Palestinian News Network (PNN), these latest statements join prior condemation of the seizure of land located 3 km east of the Green Line, near Jaba’a village and surrounded by the illegal Israeli settlement of Gush Etzion and the Apartheid Wall.
Washington has reportedly urged the Israeli government to reverse the decision. A US State Department official recently asserted that “this announcement, like every other settlement announcement Israel makes, […] is counterproductive to Israel’s stated goal of a negotiated two-state solution with the Palestinians,” citing continuing opposition, by the US, to Israeli settlement activity.
PNN further reports that the UK’s Foreign Office has also issued an official statement deploring the Israeli government’s expropriation of land, warning that it ‘will do serious damage to Israel’s standing in the international community.’
France and Egypt have likewise condemned the action.
The illegality of such settlements, under international law, has continuously been evoked by not only Palestinian authorities and rights groups but by those throughout the world. However, gross Israeli violations continue unabated, with no actual enforcement of the law by the powers that be.