Israeli ‘Absentee Property Keeper’ Put forward plans to build new settlements in Jerusalem

Jerusalem/PNN/ By: Madeeha Al-A’raj

The National Bureau for defending land and resisting settlements ( nbprs ) stated in its latest weekly report, that Israeli Occupation Authorities have been working through the so-called “Absentee Property Unit at the Ministry of Justice to advance plans to build new settlements in the Palestinian Territories, especially in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, and in Moroccan Gate, Jerusalem. They also intend to build 2 more settlements near Beit Safafa, and 2 others in Beit Hanina and Soor Baher, which means the displacement of Palestinian families from their homes, claiming that these homes have been managed by the “absentee property unit” for decades.

According to Israeli law, the absentee property unit has seized nearly 900 properties, Palestinian-owned in East Jerusalem, claiming that their owners are unknown. Knowing that Israel had enacted a law in 1970 to transfer real-estate owned by Jews, prior to 1948, to the ‘absentee property unit’, and in 2017, the East Jerusalem file was transferred to the economic unit, even though documents showed that the “Property keeper” is advancing settlement plans in 5 areas in the occupied Jerusalem.

The first plan is related to a settlement building in the western part of Sheikh Jarrah, known as the Um Haroun area, in which 45 Palestinian families are living, and the “property keeper” manages most of the real estate there. Settler organizations work through the courts, and with the help of the property, keepers expel Palestinian families from their homes.

So far, two Palestinian families have been expelled. A document of the property unit showed that it manages 33 plots out of 58 plots in the neighborhood and that 5 plots were confiscated by the Israel Land Authority.

Moreover, the municipal structural plan allows demolishing old buildings and constructing new ones in their place or expanding them by adding a building up to 4 floors.

This plan means establishing a settlement in the heart of Sheikh Jarrah. Recently, the Land Registrar Department at the Ministry of Justice ended the registration of Um Haroun Neighborhood in the name of the settlers. This settlement merges with other schemes submitted by settler organizations in the eastern section of Sheikh Jarrah, where 13 Palestinian families are facing lawsuits in the courts demanding their expulsion from their homes in favor of the “Nahalat Shimon” Settlement Association. In Beit Hanina, to the north of the occupied Jerusalem, the “property keeper” is studying the establishment of a settlement that includes dozens of housing units on 6 dunums of land adjacent to an Israeli army camp.

The property keeper approached the Ministry of Security to advance this plan. In Beit Safafa to the south of the occupied Jerusalem, the “property unit” plans to establish a settlement that includes dozens of housing units near Soor Baher. The property keeper manages 3.3 dunams in that area and is looking for another dunum to build the settlement.

Another very sensitive plan is the establishment of a settlement in the Bab al-Amud area, the main entrance to the Old City. Behind a Palestinian commercial center in that area, there is a settlement outpost inhabited by ten Jewish families, who settled there after the “property keeper” handed over the property to the settlers claiming that they were the heirs of its owners before 1948, and these “heirs” sold the property to a settlement association.

In Jerusalem, the occupation municipality, through the local Planning and Building Committee approved a new plan to build more than 80 settlement units and allocate an area for trade and hotels on Hebron Street, south of Jerusalem. The plan includes the construction of an 18-story building comprising 80 settlement units, 47 of which are long-term rental units for 15 years, 17 hotel rooms, with a commercial front towards Hebron Road, about 750m2 of offices, and 200m2 of public space built for care services.

According to the occupation municipality, the plan is presented in accordance with the policy of construction and development along the light rail lines for mixed uses of residential and commercial buildings, hotels, and offices.

The municipality confirmed that ‘the committee discussed the objections to the plans and decided that the presented plan is consistent with the policy of overcrowding on light rail hubs, and the district committee recommended the implementation of the plan’.

In Salfeet, the occupation authorities are planning to establish a new settlement under the name ‘Tabouh Gharb’ on 118 dunums of land near the settlement of ‘Kfar Tafouh’ located on the lands of Yasuf village in the Salfeet Governorate. The residents of Yasuf village, in cooperation with the associations ‘Bimkom’ – Planners for Planning Rights’ and ‘Yesh Din’ have objected to the plan.

Their objection stated that the plan was biased and its data is incorrect, as the plan claims that it will address the natural growth and development of the settlement of ‘Kfar Tafouh’, but the reality in practice is that the settlement plan will be implemented in a long period of years, and characterized by low population density, which contradicts with Planning trends related to population density in the new plans in ‘Kfar Tafouh’.

In Tulkarm, the occupation authorities notified to seize 10,638 dunams from the lands of Shofa village, southeast of Tulkarm, located in “Khilat Al-Mila”, “Al-Arqoub”, “Abu Al-Aqra Building”, and “Fiscal” basin n. 2. in favor of expanding Avni Hefetz settlement, while bulldozing and construction works continue on the lands that were previously seized in order to expand the aforementioned settlement. Last July, the occupation authorities seized 3 and a half dunams of the “Al-Bira” site in the village. And in 2019 they issued a new detailed plan bearing n. T/158, which includes the establishment of a settlement industrial zone on an area of 788 dunums of the villages of Jbara and Shufa.

For their part, the groups of the alleged Temple began to form groups of their members, whose features are Arab, as “undercover”, who are trained to infiltrate among the worshipers of the Al-Aqsa Mosque during prayer times. Furthermore, the Hebrew Channel ‘13’ wrote in a very serious report that, it broadcasted about a religious ‘undercover’ unit that is trained in the principle of prayers in Islam and how to perform it, as well as hiding their hair that hangs from both sides while they wear Islamic dress and carry prayer rugs and rosaries.

The report that was photographed in the outpost of Elad, showed the Al-Wad area west of Al-Aqsa Mosque, the leader of this group, the extremist Raphael Morris, who is famous for his defiance of Muslim sentiments, his incursions into the mosque, his incitement against Islamic wakf, and his call to hand the mosque over to the Ministry of Jewish Religions. In the details, this group is called ‘Hozerem Lahar’, meaning ‘the return to the Temple Mount, and it is one of the most dangerous extremist Jewish groups.

This group is of the same fanatical religious ideology for those who belong to the group of Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira and Rabbi Yossi Elitzur, author of the book “The King’s Torah,” which defines the position of the Torah and Jewish law toward the “gentlemen” that the Jewish state and Jews should adhere to and follow.

The book classifies humans into multiple ranks, according to this classification, that the Jews are better – immeasurably – than the various other types of human beings. He considers that the Jews are the only true human beings, while the ‘gentiles’ are in a lower rank, and their rank is very close to that of beasts. Therefore, the Jewish state and the Jews should take positions that discriminate against them – at best – or allow their killing, especially in times of war.

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