The US has urged Israel to reverse its appropriation of 1,000 acres of land for possible settlement construction near Bethlehem on the West Bank, after it was denounced by the Palestinian Authority. The State Department official said Washington has long opposed continued Jewish settlement activity as “counterproductive” to a two-state solution. Israel radio said the appropriation was taken in response to the kidnapping and killing of three Jewish teenagers by Hamas militants in the area in June which sparked the seven-week war in Gaza.

Last year, the government invited bids for the building of 1,000 housing units at the appropriated site to be known as Gevaot.