Last Updated: 2018-10-11
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RAMALLAH, Palestine, Oct 11 (NNN-XINHUA) - Palestinian officials said, on Wednesday, that, the Israeli authorities have started building new settlement units, near the West Bank city of Bethlehem.

Naim Shueair, head of Al-Zawiya village, in the northern West Bank, told the official Palestinian news agency WAFA, that, the Israeli army informed them of the confiscation of 3.2 hectares of village land, for military purposes.

The Israeli army already seized between 56 hectares and 71 hectares of village land, to establish a new cemetery for nearby Jewish settlements, two months ago, Shueair noted.

Palestinian observers, however, said, lands confiscated for military purposes often end up in the hands of settlers, to establish or expand their existing settlements.

Hasan Breijiyeh, a Palestinian Authority official, also said, Israeli authorities have begun construction of eight new settlement units, in Megdal Oz settlement, near Beit Fajjar village, south of the city.

Breijiyeh explained that, this is part of a plan to expand the settlement, by building 600 new units.

Israeli settlement activity, deemed illegal by most world powers and under international law, is considered one of the thorniest issues, hindering the peace talks between Palestinians and Israelis, especially since the last stalled peace talks in 2014.-- NNN-XINHUA