Israel turbocharges West Bank settlement expansion with largest land grab in decades | 3 July 2024 | Israel has approved the largest seizure of land in the occupied West Bank in over three decades, a settlement tracking group said Wednesday, a move that is likely to worsen already soaring tensions linked to the war in Gaza. Israel's aggressive expansion in the West Bank reflects the settler community's strong influence in the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the most religious and nationalist in the country’s history. Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, a settler himself, has turbocharged the policy of expansion, seizing new authorities over settlement development and saying he aims to solidify Israel's hold on the territory and prevent the creation of a Palestinian state. Authorities recently approved the appropriation of 12.7 square kilometers (nearly 5 square miles) of land in the Jordan Valley, according to a copy of the order obtained by The Associated Press.

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