News / Middle East

    Britain 'Deplores’ Israeli Claim of West Bank Land

    FILE - British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond says seizing West Bank land would 'do serious damage' to Israel's international standing.
    FILE - British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond says seizing West Bank land would 'do serious damage' to Israel's international standing.
    VOA News

    The British government says Israel's expropriation of a large swath of land inside the occupied West Bank would "do serious damage to Israel’s standing in the international community."

    On Sunday, Israel laid claim to about 400 hectares in the area of Gush Etzion near Bethlehem in what critics say is Israel’s biggest land grab in at least 30 years.

    "The U.K. deplores the Israeli government's move," British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said, adding that "the priority must be to build on the cease-fire in Gaza."

    Map of Israel, Gaza and the West BankMap of Israel, Gaza and the West Bank
    x
    Map of Israel, Gaza and the West Bank
    Map of Israel, Gaza and the West Bank

    The U.S. State Department on Sunday called for Tel Aviv to reconsider its decision and said taking the land would be "counterproductive" to peace efforts in the region.

    Land seizure "is counterproductive to Israel’s stated goal of a negotiated two-state solution with the Palestinians," said a senior official, who requested anonymity.

    Since President Barack Obama took office in 2009, his administration has made clear its opposition to settlement expansion. It is the latest stumbling block in the relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.   

    Egypt denounces claim

    On Monday, Egypt’s foreign ministry also decried the move. Egypt last week brokered the truce halting the 50-day war between Israel and Hamas, which killed more than 2,100 Palestinians and 68 Israelis and left parts of the Gaza Strip in ruin.

    "This is not a positive step. It contradicts international law and will have negative consequences on the peace process," a statement from Cairo said, according to the AFP news service.

    Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat condemned the move as part of what he calls Israeli crimes against the Palestinian people and their occupied land.

    Israel's army said it declared the land "state-owned" under orders from political leaders. It is in reaction to the June kidnapping and murders of three Israeli teenagers near Bethlehem.

    Israel has named three Palestinians as suspects. The murders and the revenge killing of a Palestinian teen by Israelis helped spark the recent fighting between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.

    Some information for this report was provided by the AFP news service.

    You May Like

    US Internet Giants, EU Reach Deal to Combat Online Hate Speech

    Facebook, Twitter, Google and Microsoft commit to ‘quickly and efficiently’ act to clamp down on use of social media to incite violence, terror

    Video Tunisia’s Ennahda Party Begins a New Political Chapter

    Party now moves to separate its political and religious activities; change described by party members as pragmatic response to political and economic challenges facing Tunisia today

    Virtual Reality Fine-tuned at Asia Tech Show

    Microchip designers hope to improve resolution for users of systems that can turn your bedroom into the ocean floor

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Xaaji Dhagax from: Somalia
    September 02, 2014 1:55 AM
    This is perfectly measured response to 64 Israeli military officers killed by Hamas, right?
    In Response

    by: Martin Goldman
    September 02, 2014 2:00 PM
    Vincent, living in a comfort zone safe from the perils of war makes one immune from harm - don't sweat the small stuff, visit Israel and "wizen" up on the conflict. Hamas is funded by several external sources regarding their weaponry and maybe you will realise the real problem. Shalom.
    In Response

    by: Vincent Vincent-James
    September 02, 2014 8:09 AM
    All our Western rulers, (Obama, Cameron, Canadian and Australian rulers are the best example), would continue to serve the interest of the Jewish minority in their respective countries, and the interest of the country of their 'First-Loyalty' as long as the following political system remains intact in the West. It needs to, it has to change to SAVE democracy itself.

    As long as the Jewish minority in particular is allowed to fund-raise for ALL political Parties, and to make personal and business donations, and bribe politicians with 'directorships' in their businesses, the Jewish, (CFI in the UK and AIPAC in the USA) and Israeli stranglehold on the USA and on all Western democracies would continue to cause conflicts, wars, spread prejudice and hatred among the Gentile through deliberate Jewish monopoly of all mediums of Gentiles 'Thought-Control', the press, media, film and publishing industries.

    For a decade, I have been highlighting the real cause of this tiniest of 'Gold-Pot' owning minority's stranglehold on all our Western Democracies, which would END overnight if every Western country makes all personal and business donations to political parties and individual politicians, and awarding of directorships to politicians a criminal offence with 10 years minimum behind bars.

    by: kaygee1 from: USA
    September 01, 2014 10:29 PM
    This land was part of the Etzion bloc before the 1948 ethnic cleansing of Jews from Judea and Samaria a/k/a as the West Bank and the old city of Jerusalem. It was never owned by any Palestinians and they have no claim on it now. As to expropriation, it has not been expropriated from owners as it was ownerless. As to the protestations of the Palestinians in the area, they didn't refuse to take over the Etzion bloc laand in 1948 did they?

    by: Anna from: UK
    September 01, 2014 2:33 PM
    Israel must be taking a leaf out of England's book, the jolly old brits got away with it in many lands.
    In Response

    by: CJR
    September 02, 2014 11:00 AM
    Anna, yes. Sadly however Rhodesia was abandoned and look what happened, the world stood by along with the USA and other Western countries, and the rest sadly, was utterly tragic. Do some research to and see what happened to a country that supported Britain in both World Wars with its manpower, many of whom were never to return.

    by: C. Richardson from: Austin, Texas
    September 01, 2014 2:27 PM
    Another example of collective punishment by Israel. The land never belonged to Hamas but is taken from other Palestinians to punish Hamas. So is Israel going to give back land to the Palestinians because Israelis burned to death a Palestinian young man? Also, why have they not destroyed the homes of the Jewish perpetrators of that murder (as they did to Palestinian homes)?

    by: Rose Lawson Steinmeier
    September 01, 2014 2:24 PM
    Yeah, deplore. Now what are you willing to do, other than mouth words, to stop Israel's theft of Palestinians'? land

    by: Robert Twic from: Vancouver, Canada
    September 01, 2014 2:20 PM
    The 'West-Bank' can b taken as disputed territory as Israel never gave up its claim to it after the 1948 War, started by the attack upon it by 4 Arab countries. The West Bank reflects armistice-lines ONLY, not borders from that war, not someone-else's country. Before the 1967 War, it was controlled unoccupied by Jordan, who lost it to Israel in that 1967 War. @ that time, a Palestinian state had never existed; so the land was 'up for grabs' by whomever controlled it - Jordan, prior to that war, and, Israel, after that war.

    by: will from: ottawa canada
    September 01, 2014 2:15 PM
    It is all well and good to "deplore" this blatant theft of Palestinian land and call it "counterproductive" but the real question is when will Britain, the United States and Canada stop supporting the gangsters who currently run Israel and impose meaningful sanctions on the country.

    by: George Falke from: Canada
    September 01, 2014 1:49 PM
    Is this also part of Israels right to defend itself?

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Tech Startups Showcase Wares at Amsterdam Conferencei
    X
    Serginho Roosblad
    May 30, 2016 5:11 PM
    More than 20,000 tech enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and lovers of digital technology came together in Amsterdam recently at the Next Web Conference to discuss the latest developments in digital technology, look to the future and, of course, to connect. In recent years, there has been an explosion of so-called startup businesses that have created devices and applications that have changed the way we live; but, as Serginho Roosblad reports for VOA, there are pitfalls for such startups as well.
    Video

    Video Tech Startups Showcase Wares at Amsterdam Conference

    More than 20,000 tech enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and lovers of digital technology came together in Amsterdam recently at the Next Web Conference to discuss the latest developments in digital technology, look to the future and, of course, to connect. In recent years, there has been an explosion of so-called startup businesses that have created devices and applications that have changed the way we live; but, as Serginho Roosblad reports for VOA, there are pitfalls for such startups as well.
    Video

    Video US Military's Fallen Honored With Flags

    Memorial Day is a long weekend for most Americans. For some, it is the unofficial start of summer -- local swimming pools open and outdoor grilling season begins. But Memorial Day remains true to its origins -- a day to remember the U.S. military's fallen.
    Video

    Video Rolling Thunder Rolls Into Washington

    The Rolling Thunder caravan of motorcycles rolled into Washington Sunday, to support the U.S. military on the country's Memorial Day weekend
    Video

    Video A New Reading Program Pairs Kids with Dogs

    Dogs, it is said, are man's best friend. What some researchers have discovered is that they can also be a friend to a struggling reader. A group called Intermountain Therapy Animals trains dogs to help all kinds of kids with reading problems — from those with special needs to those for whom English is a second language. Faiza Elmasry has more on the New York chapter of R.E.A.D., or Reading Education Assistance Dogs, in this piece narrated by Faith Lapidus.
    Video

    Video Fan Base Grows for Fictional Wyoming Sheriff Longmire

    Around the world, the most enduring symbol of the U.S. is that of the cowboy. A very small percentage of Americans live in Western rural areas, and fewer still are cowboys. But the fascination with the American West is kept alive by such cultural offerings as “Longmire,” a series of books and TV episodes about a fictional Wyoming sheriff. VOA’s Greg Flakus recently spoke with Longmire’s creator, Craig Johnson, and filed this report from Houston.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora