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UN and Italy condemn Israel's land grab in West Bank

The United Nations expressed dismay at Israel's decision to confiscate land in the West Bank while Italy considered such a move an obstacle in the way of peace, the Anadolu news agency reported.

Italy's Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini said settlements "are not only illegal on the basis of international law but also represent an obstacle to peace and to the two states' prospects."

"Italy has always, together with the other EU partners urged the two sides to abstain from unilateral and counter-productive initiatives such as the one announced today, which can prejudice dialogue," she said.

Meanwhile, the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon yesterday expressed dismay over the Israeli authorities' announcement to confiscate Palestinian land in the West Bank.

According to a statement issued by his spokesman Stephane Dujarric today: "The Secretary-General is alarmed by yesterday's announcement by Israeli authorities to declare as so-called 'state land' nearly 1,000 acres of land in the Bethlehem area of the West Bank."

Ban said: "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."

The UN chief urged Israel to respond to the international community's calls to stop settlement activity and comply with its obligations under international law and the Quartet roadmap.

The Israeli government announced yesterday plans to expropriate 988 acres of Palestinian land in the area of ​​Hebron in the southern West Bank adjacent to the Gush Etzion settlement compound.

Europe & RussiaInternational OrganisationsIsraelItalyMiddle EastNewsPalestineUN
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