Emad Drimly
July 20, 2010 - 12:00am

Palestinian officials on Tuesday warned of the Israeli government's decision to expand the implementation of the Israeli law of seizing the "absentee property" in Jerusalem.

They told Xinhua in separate interviews that the Israeli law aims at escalating the Israeli measures against the Palestinians in the holy city "in order to seize their properties and push them towards the permanent emigration from the city."

Earlier on Tuesday, the Israeli Ha'aretz Daily reported that the Israeli Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein informed the Israeli High Court of Justice that the government insists on implementing the law of confiscating the Palestinian "absentee property" in the city of Jerusalem.

The daily reported that the decision is waiting the approval of the court, which denied four Palestinian appeals demanding to release their properties, which is worth ten million dollars in the area of the settlement of Har Homa, in East Jerusalem, which was built 14 years ago.

In 1950, two years after the Jewish state was established, Israel approved the law of confiscating the "absentee property," aiming at controlling the properties of the Palestinians who left the Palestinian territories and live in other Arab countries which Israel considers as hostile countries.

Adnan al-Husseini, Palestinian governor of East Jerusalem in the Palestinian National Authority (PNA), said that the Israeli law "is raciest and imperialistic, which aims at seizing thousands of acres and properties of lands."

"The Israeli government on purpose amended the law and added the text of removing the absentees' properties in order to give these properties to Jewish settlers to build more settlements. This is really an unfair law against the Palestinians," said al- Husseini.

The Israeli law threatens the properties of tens of thousands of Palestinians who live in diaspora due to the Israeli security measures implemented against the Palestinians since Israel was established, said al-Husseini.

"The Palestinians have the legal documents that show they own these properties," he added.

He warned that the Israeli laws and measures against the Palestinians in Jerusalem "are dangerous to everything concerning the Palestinian citizen's culture, history, properties and holy sites."

He called on the UN Security Council to intervene and stop "the Israeli imperialistic laws and measures."

Following the international pressure and the Palestinian demands, Israel froze the law two years ago. Palestinian officials believe that the danger of resuming the implementation of the law "would be more severe at this stage of time because it will include the territories occupied by Israel in 1967."

However, Palestinian observers believe that the core of the conflict focuses on East Jerusalem at this stage of time. The Palestinians have demanded the eastern part of the city to be the capital of their future Palestinian state, while Israel says that the whole city is the eternal capital of the Jewish state.

Khalil Tafakji, director of map department at the Orient House in Jerusalem, said that the resumption of implementing the Israeli law "is threatening the entire lands and properties that are still owned by the Palestinians in Jerusalem which equals 13 percent of East Jerusalem."

"Israel has already seized 8 percent of properties and lands in accordance with the law of confiscating the absentees' properties in addition to 40,000 acres of the West Bank territory," said Tafakji.

Israeli government confiscates the identity cards of the Palestinian residents of Jerusalem under various pretexts, mainly when they leave the city and live elsewhere for several years, in addition to the separation wall that Israel has built in the West Bank that isolated the city from the occupied territory.

Israel also considers that any Palestinian, who fled the city during and after 1967 Israel-Arab war, as an absentee, therefore, he or she will loose the residency in the city, and then their properties will be confiscated by the government and transferred to settler organizations.

Hatem Abdel Qader, a Fatah official in charge of Jerusalem's affairs, said the Israeli authorities have confiscated the IDs of 14,000 Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem since Israel occupied the city in 1967, adding that "all their properties are threatened to be confiscated."

Palestinian sources said that through the law of confiscating the Palestinian absentees' properties, Israel has controlled more than 500 Palestinian villages since 1948 and build its settlements on these lands.


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