The Palestinian Authority (PA) announced that it has announced a land grab in the occupied West Bank, declaring that it will confiscate all Palestinian land in the area, which the PA said it will grant to Israel in exchange for the West Bank’s status as a Jewish state.
The move comes after the Israeli military seized an Israeli military checkpoint near the Palestinian town of Nablus last week.
The Palestinian statement read: “We call on the Israeli authorities to immediately halt all construction and the confiscation of Palestinian lands, and to immediately release all prisoners and detainees from the military prisons, and release Palestinian citizens of Israel from all military detention centers, as well as the release of prisoners from military detention facilities, as stipulated in the [Israeli] law of the occupation.”
The PA said that it was willing to hand over land “in exchange for a future state.”
The announcement comes as the Palestinians continue to push to secure the return of all Palestinian prisoners from Israeli military detention camps, including the Nablu military base, in exchange the status of a Palestinian state.
According to the Palestinian prisoners’ rights group Addameer, Israeli forces detained about 150 Palestinian men, women, and children, including minors, during the first week of November.
In addition, Israeli soldiers raided Palestinian homes and forced Palestinians to flee, according to the group.
Last month, a Palestinian prisoner in Israel, Saeb Erekat, said he was forced to walk away from his house in a Palestinian town in an attempt to avoid being shot, but his home was demolished.
The Israeli military did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The Palestinians are currently negotiating an extension of their three-month, West Bank-based occupation, but that agreement has been delayed due to the conflict with Hamas in Gaza.
In recent months, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has sought to increase his popularity among the Israeli public, and the PA announced on Wednesday that it would be holding a televised election in order to boost his support among the Palestinians and build support among Israelis.
Earlier this week, a large number of Palestinian children participated in a march through the occupied territories to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the founding of the Palestinian Authority.
Palestinian children have also taken to the streets in protest against Israel’s treatment of Palestinians in the West, including Israeli settlers.
The announcement of the land grab comes as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas face off over the status quo in the region.
Netanyahu’s decision to grant Palestinian land to Israel was met with widespread criticism, with Palestinian politicians, activists, and human rights organizations denouncing it as an unjustified transfer of Palestinian land.
The PA is also seeking to annex the West and turn it into a “Jewish state.”
Netanyahu has said that the annexation of the West would be part of a plan to “secure the future of the people of Israel.”
The Israeli government has not commented on the announcement.
Follow Jonah Bennett on Twitter: @JonahBennett