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Tuesday May 11, 2010 1:15 PM (EST+7)
Palestinians: Settlement commercial center to adjoin US consulate

Read more: US policy, US foreign policy, settlements, East Jerusalem

JERUSALEM, May 11 (JMCC) - Israel plans to build a new settlement commercial center next to East Jerusalem's United States consulate building, just north of the Old City, Palestinians disclosed Tuesday.

Fateh official in Jerusalem Hatem Abdel Qader said that the custodian of three pieces of land belonging to the Islamic endowment of Sheikh Shams Eddin al-Imelli received on Monday eviction orders from the Israel Lands Administration. The Israeli body that controls land holdings in Israel claimed that it owns the property.

Lawyers for the endowment are in the process of filing court papers objecting to the eviction.

The property covers some three acres, and is currently the site of a workshop, car dealership and parking lot just west of the consulate property. (See JMCC's Facebook page for an aerial view and a copy of the order.)

It is ironic, said Abdel Qader, that settlements have even crawled up to the vicinity of the US consulate, said Abdel Qader.

Palestinians and Israelis kicked off indirect negotiations on Sunday, but already disputes have arisen over Israel's settlement construction.

Negotiators on the Palestinian side filed a formal complaint with the US administration over Israeli settlement construction in Ras al-Amoud in Jerusalem. A private settlement group is building 14 apartments in an old police station there.

While Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has denied agreeing to halt settlement construction in the parts of Jerusalem occupied by Israel in 1967, US officials say they are monitoring both sides to prevent provocations.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is refusing to carry out direct negotiations with Israel as long as it continues its settlement-building program.






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