JERUSALEM (AFP) - Israel has stepped up sales of the property of Palestinians who fled or were driven out in 1948, a human rights group said on Monday, adding the move went against both Israeli and international law. Selling these properties constitutes the final expropriation of the right to property of Palestinian refugees, despite the special legal, historical and political status of these properties, the Adalah legal centre said. The Israel Lands Administration (ILA) has carried out 80 such auctions so far in 2009, 106 in 2008 and 96 in 2007, the group said. The sales are illegal under Israeli law, the group said, as the ownership of the properties was transferred to the Custodian of Absentee Properties until a political solution is reached to the refugee issue. The sale of Palestinian refugee properties (also) contradicts international humanitarian law, which stipulates the need to respect the right of private property and explicitly prohibits the final expropriation of private property following the termination of warfare, it said in a statement. Adalah sent a letter to various Israeli authorities last month demanding the cancellation of the invitations to bid and plans to appeal to the Israeli supreme court over the issue. Some 760,000 Palestinians left or were driven out of their homes when Israel was created in 1948 and today they and their descendants number some 4.6 million scattered across the ME and around the world.