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Israel builds the largest new West Bank nature reserve on private Palestinian land

A picture taken on January 17, 2017 from the Palestinian West Bank village of Hares shows illegal outposts in the Israeli Jewish settlement of Revava [JAAFAR ASHTIYEH/AFP via Getty Images]
A picture taken on January 17, 2017 from the Palestinian West Bank village of Hares shows illegal outposts in the Israeli Jewish settlement of Revava [JAAFAR ASHTIYEH/AFP via Getty Images]

Israel has built a new West Bank nature reserve on stolen privately-owned Palestinian land, based south of Jericho.

It is the largest Israeli nature reserve established since the 1993 Oslo Accords were signed.

Oslo Accords, the 25th Anniversary - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

Oslo Accords, the 25th Anniversary – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

The move was condemned by Nabil Abu Rudeineh, the spokesperson for PA President Mahmoud Abbas, following Israel's expropriation of 22,000 dunums of Palestinian land to build it.

Several villages were confiscated, and as a result, which Abu Rudeineh said, is part of the E1 settlement plan that aims to isolate the occupied city of Jerusalem from the rest of the occupied West Bank.

Known as the Wadi Og Nature Reserve, the new nature reserve will further prevent Palestinian shepherds from pasturing their flocks in the Umm Zuka reserve in the Jordan Valley, which will have direct adverse consequences on the lives of vulnerable families making a living from agriculture.

According to Israeli human rights movement, Peace Now, "This is not a matter of protecting nature but, rather, of taking control of land. In the occupied territories, nature reserves are one of the many tools that Israel uses to deprive Palestinians of their land."

Moreover, the government appears to be looking to deepen the occupation "by any means possible," said the anti-settlement group.

"The occupation cannot be washed away with green colours; the occupation remains a black spot on the State of Israel and it is time to end it," it added.

READ: Israel legalises settlement outpost in Hebron

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