Reuters - Israel has appropriated large tracts of land in the occupied West Bank near the Dead Sea and the Palestinian city of Jericho, Israeli Army Radio said.
Israel's Peace Now movement, which tracks and opposes Israeli settlement in territory captured in a 1967 war, said the reported seizure of 579 acres represented the largest land confiscation in the West Bank in recent years.
The group said plans for expanding nearby Jewish settlements and building tourism and other commercial facilities in the area were already on Israel's drawing board.
Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat called in a statement on the international community to press Israel to stop land confiscations. Most countries view Israeli settlement activity in the West Bank and East Jerusalem as illegal and an obstacle to peace.