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UK deplores Israel’s land grab on West Bank

    Beitar Illit, the largest city in Gush Etzion (wikipedia)
    Beitar Illit, the largest city in Gush Etzion (wikipedia)

    The British government has crticised an Israeli decision to annex land on the West Bank.

    It said the move would seriously damage Israel's international reputation.

    Israel announced the annexation of land in the Etzion Jewish settlement bloc near Bethlehem, on Sunday.

    Anti-settlement groups have called it the biggest such claim in 30 years.

    British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said: "The UK deplores the Israeli government's expropriation of 988 acres (1.54 square miles) of land around the settlement of Etzion.

    "This is a particularly ill-judged decision that comes at a time when the priority must be to build on the cease-fire in Gaza.

    “It will do serious damage to Israel's standing in the international community."

    His statement echoed US calls to reverse the decision.

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