Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank are considered illegal according to UN resolutions (AFP)
Israeli occupation authorities approved on Sunday a plan aiming to seize dozens of dunums of Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank district of Bethlehem, according to local sources.
Hasan Brejiyeh, a local anti-settlement and anti-wall activist, told WAFA news agency that the Israeli occupation authorities ordered the confiscation of large tracts of Palestinian land in the area in favor of colonial settlement construction and expansion.
Brejiyeh noted that the recent Israeli plan is evidence that the Israeli government is in favor of facilitating settlers' attempts to seize Palestinian-owned lands.
There are over 700,000 colonial Israeli settlers living in Jewish-only settlements across the West Bank in violation of international law, particularly the Fourth Geneva Convention which expressly bans the relocation of the occupying nation's civilian population to the land of the occupied.
According to Israeli rights group B'Tselem, Israel has used a complex legal and bureaucratic mechanism to take control of more Palestinian land in the West Bank.
The principal tool used to take control of land is to declare it "state land." This process began in 1979 and is based on a manipulative implementation of the Ottoman Lands Law of 1858, which applied in the area at the time of occupation. Other methods employed by Israel to take control of land include seizure for military needs, declaration of land as "abandoned assets," and the expropriation of land for public needs.