Protests flare as Israel moves to expand illegal settlements

Protests flare as Israel moves to expand illegal settlementsBids for new Zionist settlements in the occupied West Bank territories have been published just days after the occupying regime announced a land grab of some 400 hectares (988 acres) south of the Palestinian territory, prompting violent protests across villages in the region.
The proposals were announced on Thursday, in documents published on the Israel Land Authority’s website. They outlined intentions to expand the Elkana settlement, south of Nablus, in the West Bank’s North West – 283 new Zionist settlement units are to be built.
In January, some 5,000 illegal settlement units were approved across the occupied east al-Quds (Jerusalem) and some areas of the West Bank – Elkana was among the areas included in the plans.
Protest rallies subsequently broke out across the region. Protesters hurled stones at Israeli regime forces in the city of Nablus, in the north of the West Bank. Published photos show tear gas and pepper spray being deployed by Israeli forces, as Palestinians plant olive trees while waving the Palestinian flag and chanting.
The move comes hard on the heels of a land-grab that was condemned by international bodies, including the UN.
On Sunday, the Israeli regime announced controversial plans to seize the 400 hectares of land in the south between Bethlehem and Hebron.
“This decision, which leads to a further deterioration of the situation, must be blocked,” said Nabil Abu Rudeina, a spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
“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,” he added.
Last month, the Zionist regime and Palestinian resistance leaders tentatively signed a ceasefire agreement which drew a two-month conflict to a close. More than 2,100 Palestinians were killed and over 10,000 injured during the brutal Israeli onslaught. Some 2,200 people were killed – the majority of whom were Palestinian civilians.
Rdainah further urged the Tel Aviv regime to cancel the appropriation.
“The decision will lead to more instability. This will only inflame the situation after the war in Gaza,” he said.

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