Israel on Sunday confiscated nearly 1,000 acres of privately owned Palestinian land near an Israeli settlement south of Bethlehem in the West Bank ? a move described by Israeli rights group Peace Now as "unprecedented in its scope since the 1980s."
Settlements built on Palestinian land occupied by Israel, including East Jerusalem, are deemed illegal by the United Nations. Israel's refusal to halt their construction and expansion has at times arrested the peace process and increased resentment and distrust among Palestinians.
In a statement published on its website, Peace Now condemned the latest land confiscation and said it further damaged the chance of achieving a lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians based on a two-state solution.
The group also said the move ran contrary to the "new diplomatic horizon" that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke of earlier this month, even as Israel and Hamas exchanged blows in a deadly battle that devastated the Gaza Strip.