Israel to seize land near Jerusalem

The Israeli government Tuesday disclosed plans to seize a large tract of Arab land near Jerusalem to build a new Jewish residential neighborhood. Finance Ministry sources said an order signed by Finance Minister Yigael Hurwitz authorized expropriation of 1,100 acres north of Jerusalem on land conquered by Israel in the 1967 war.

Housing Minister David Levy told the cabinet there was an urgent need to seize the land because "it was being filled with illegal Arab building forming a wedge between the two Jewish neighborhoods."

The land is owned by several hundred people -- about 70 percent by Arabs and 30 percent by Jews holding title to it before 1948. All landowners are to be compensated.

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