by Chaim Levinson
August 31, 2014
The appropriation of 3,799 dunams (988 acres) of West Bank land between the Etzion settlement bloc and Jerusalem was announced on Sunday by the Israel Defense Forces’ Civil Administration. The appropriation was decided on by the cabinet last week as a response to the kidnapping and killing of three Jewish teens by Hamas militants in the area in June, according to the administration’s announcement.
Anti-settlement group Peace Now said it was the largest land appropriation in 30 years. The intention of appropriating the land is to create territorial continuity between the Green Line and settlements of Beitar Illit, Kfar Etzion, and Gvaot. The appropriated land belongs to five Palestinian villages in the Bethlehem area: Jaba, Surif, Wadi Fukin, Husan and Nahalin.
Most of the land does not fall under any local authority at this stage. Following the announcement, settlement bodies are now able to submit plans for the development of the land…..David Perl, head of the Gush Etzion local council, said that the “declaration of some 4,000 dunams as state land paves the way for the establishment of Gvaot, a new city in Gush Etzion. I want to congratulate the prime minister and the government of Israel on their promotion of the initiative and the defense minister and head of the civil administration on getting the decision approved……