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Saturday June 23, 2012 4:57 PM (EST+7)
Court case telling on West Bank land theft

Read more: land, land confiscation, Beit El, Ein Yabrud, settlers, settlements, courts, law, land sales, corruption

RAMALLAH, June 23 (JMCC) - A recent court case over a plot of land in Beit El tells how land transfer and theft happens in the occupied West Bank, reports Haaretz.

The court case, which challenges a previous ruling that land documents were forged, traces how settlers are claiming that an elderly man sold his land to a Palestinian dealer who has been convicted in forging documents. The man's son says that the settler's account is untrue and that the land was stolen out from under the family, which lives in Ein Yabrud.

(The Haaretz account in English is either mistaken or unclear about the time of the landowner's death.)

The Israeli military has since established a base on the land in the heart of Beit El.

Hussein Farahat was born in 1919 in the West Bank village of Ein Yabrud, northeast of Ramallah. He owned a seven-dunam plot of land (1.75 acres ). He did not live to see the establishment of the settlement of Beit El; he died at home in 1971, survived by five children.

But for the settlers of Beit El, the memory of Farahat remains very much alive. That's because, according to them, he sold his land to a company owned by the wife of Rabbi Zalman Baruch Melamed, head of the Beit El yeshiva, and the wife of MK Yaakov Katz (National Union ).

An Haaretz probe has revealed that at least some Beit El residents who are connected to the dubious land deal over the Ulpana neighborhood are also connected to this land deal, which a court ruled was based on forged documents. A middleman, in fact, went to jail for this transaction, as well as for other land-deal forgeries.

But that did not stop the people of Beit El from taking the case to the district court, with the demand that the land be registered under their names, despite the past ruling on the matter.







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