The Israel Defense Forces Civil Administration announced that it would appropriate nearly 1,000 acres in the Gush Etzion bloc and convert it in to state land.
The Gva’ot settlement in the western area of Gush Etzion is located on the land, adjacent to the Alon Shvut settlement. Gva’ot was built without zoning permits from the military.
Gva’ot originally was established as a military base in 1984.
The move was immediately slammed by the anti-settlement group Peace Now, which in a statement called the appropriation plan “unprecedented in scope.”
“By declaring another 4,000 dunams as state land, the Israeli government stabs President Abbas and the moderate Palestinian forces in the back, proving again that violence delivers Israeli concessions while nonviolence results in settlement expansion,” the Peace Now statement said.
The organization previously revealed that the Ministry of Housing had an initial plan to build 15,000 units to establish a city in Gvaot.
Ten families currently live on the site and more than 500 housing units currently are under construction.
The IDF said there is no Palestinian claim on the land, but objections against the decision can be filed for the next 45 days.
According to Peace Now, the plan could create a contiguous boundary from Gva’ot, through the settlements of Kfar Etzion and Beitar Illit, to the Green Line.