Turkey strongly condemns Israel’s West Bank land expropriation

Turkey strongly condemns Israel’s West Bank land expropriation

Turkey strongly condemns Israel’s West Bank land expropriation

A Palestinian waves a Palestinian flag as he watches Israeli settlers take over several houses, which are disputed between Palestinians and Israelis, in the West Bank old city of Hebron January 21, 2016. Israeli settlers, escorted by the Israeli army, took over several houses, witnesses said. REUTERS/Mussa Qawasma

Turkey has “strongly condemned” Israel’s expropriation of some 150 hectares of land in the West Bank, underlining the unlawfulness of the move by Israel.

“We strongly condemn Israel’s decision to expropriate 1,545 decares of agricultural land near Jericho in the West Bank under occupation of Israel which belongs to Palestinians,” the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a written statement released late on Jan. 21.

“These kinds of settlement activities, which destroy ground for a two-state solution, are null and void in regards to international law and it will not be accepted in anyway,” the ministry concluded.

The appropriation, in the Jordan Valley close to Jericho, is an area where Israel already has many settlement farms built on land Palestinians seek for a state. It is the largest land seizure since August 2014.

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon denounced the move and Palestinian officials said they would push for a resolution at the United Nations against Israel’s settlement policies.

The approval granted to the land expropriation outside of Jericho drew condemnation also from Israel’s most important ally, the U.S. But Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu played down the plan on Jan. 21, calling it a “routine” survey of land whose fate hasn’t yet been fully determined.

Israel captured the West Bank in the 1967 war, along with east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, territories the Palestinians want for their hoped-for state. Much of the international community view West Bank settlements as illegal.