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Israeli army seizes 70 dunams of Palestinian land in southern West Bank

July 18, 2017 6:04 P.M. (Updated: July 18, 2017 6:04 P.M.)
(Photo: Rabbis for Human Rights, File)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Israeli authorities reportedly seized 70 dunams (17.3 acres) of land in the Bethlehem district of the occupied West Bank, official Palestinian news agency Wafa reported on Monday.

Wafa quoted local activist Hassan Brijiyeh as saying that Israeli forces left a notice on land belonging to the Mashaala family in the village of al-Jabaa southwest of the city of Bethlehem, that its property in an area called Wadi al-Ghoul had been seized for “military purposes.”

An Israeli army spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the matter.

According to the Applied Research Institute - Jerusalem (ARIJ), al-Jabaa is surrounded by three illegal Israeli settlements, and had already lost 69 percent of its lands due to the illegal Israeli separation wall.

Israeli rights group B’Tselem argued in a report in 2016 that under the guise of a "temporary military occupation," Israel has been "using the land as its own: robbing land, exploiting the area’s natural resources for its own benefit and establishing permanent settlements," estimating that Israel had dispossessed Palestinians from some 200,000 hectares (494,211 acres) of lands in the occupied Palestinian territory over the years.

The movement of Israeli forces and settlers taking over Palestinian land, and further displacing the local Palestinian population has been a "stable" Israeli policy since the takeover of the West Bank and Jerusalem in 1967, B'Tselem said, underscoring that all "Israeli legislative, legal, planning, funding, and defense bodies" have played an active role in the dispossession of Palestinians from their lands, despite the international community pinpointing settlements as one of the major obstacles to peace.
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