Envoys of five European countries have lodged a joint protest with Israel over a recent government decision to confiscate 4,000 dunam of land in the occupied West Bank, Anadolu agency reported.
The ambassadors of Britain, France, Italy, and Spain, and the deputy ambassador of Germany submitted the written protest to National Security Adviser Yossi Cohen during a meeting in the Prime Minister's Office on Monday, Israeli daily Haaretz reported on Tuesday.
The envoys said that the Israeli decision to confiscate the land had greatly angered the European Union countries.
On Sunday, Israeli authorities announced the seizure of 4,000 dunam of land in the southern West Bank in a move aiming at expanding the Gush Etzion settlement.
The confiscation order was taken by the Israeli authorities as a response to the kidnapping and subsequent killing of three Jewish settlers two months ago in Hebron, the Israeli radio said.
Israeli authorities gave the Palestinians and human rights organizations 45 days to submit their legal objections to the decision in Israeli courts.
Israeli settlement building in Jerusalem and the West Bank has recently swung into full gear after peace talks with the Palestinians collapsed earlier this year.
Palestinian negotiators insist that Israeli settlement building in the West Bank must stop before any comprehensive peace agreement can be reached.
International law views the West Bank and East Jerusalem as "occupied territories" and considers all Jewish settlement building on the land illegal.
About 500,000 Israelis now live in more than one hundred Jewish-only settlements built since Israel seized the West Bank and East Jerusalem in 1967.
The Palestinians want these areas, along with the Gaza Strip, for an eventual independent state of Palestine.