MOSCOW, September 1 (RIA Novosti) - Washington has condemned Israel’s annexation of 988 acres of the West Bank’s land, inhabited by Palestinians, urging Tel Aviv to annul the move, Reuters reported, citing a US State Department representative.
“We have long made clear our opposition to continued settlement activity. This announcement, like every other settlement announcement Israel makes, planning step they approve and construction tender they issue is counterproductive to Israel's stated goal of a negotiated two-state solution with the Palestinians,” an unnamed State Department official told Reuters on Sunday.
“We urge the government of Israel to reverse this decision,” the official added.
On Sunday, the administration of Israel’s Judea and Samaria Area – the Israeli name for the West Bank – declared around 988 acres of the land in the Etzion settlement the property of Israel, making it the biggest territorial gain of Israel since the 1980s.
The 988 acres of land are planned to be used for the construction of a new settlement, known as Gvaot, which Israeli authorities claim is a part of the nearby Alon Shvut settlement.
However, the land belongs to five Palestinian villages and is located a few miles away from Alon Shvut, Haaretz newspaper reported.
According to Israeli law, the Palestinians inhabiting the area have 45 days to lodge their complaints against Israel before it will be declared Israeli land.