UK deplores Israeli decision to expropriate land near Bethlehem and urges Israel to reverse the decision.

Commenting on Israel’s decision on 31 August to expropriate almost 990 acres of privately owned Palestinian land near Bethlehem, the Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said:

The UK deplores the Israeli government’s expropriation of 988 acres of land around the settlement of Etzion near Bethlehem. This is a particularly ill-judged decision that comes at a time when the priority must be to build on the ceasefire in Gaza. It will do serious damage to Israel’s standing in the international community.

Our position on settlements is clear: they are illegal under international law, present an obstacle to peace and take us further away from a two state solution at a time when negotiations to achieve this objective urgently need to be resumed.

All efforts should currently be focused on securing a durable ceasefire in Gaza and the lasting peace that the Palestinian and Israeli people deserve. We strongly urge the government of Israel to reverse this decision.

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