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Israel Expropriates West Bank Land, Days After Biden Visit

  • Associated Press

FILE - An Israeli soldier argues with a Palestinian protester as they try to block a highway between Jerusalem and the Dead Sea near the West Bank town of Jericho.

FILE - An Israeli soldier argues with a Palestinian protester as they try to block a highway between Jerusalem and the Dead Sea near the West Bank town of Jericho.

Defense officials say Israel has expropriated a large stretch of land in the West Bank, near the city of Jericho, just days after Vice President Joe Biden visited the region.

The move, which was reported in Israeli media earlier, has already drawn a sharp U.S. rebuke.

COGAT, a defense body, said Wednesday that about 580 acres (235 hectares) were seized. The decision was enacted on Sunday.

U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby said Tuesday that Israeli land expropriations accelerate settlement expansion and are "fundamentally undermining the prospects for a two-state solution" to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

US Vice President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, not seen, give joint statements in the prime minister's office in Jerusalem, March 9, 2016.

US Vice President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, not seen, give joint statements in the prime minister's office in Jerusalem, March 9, 2016.

A visit by Biden in 2010 was marked by a diplomatic spat with Washington after Israel announced settlement construction plans during his visit. His last visit was a week ago.

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